104 - The Keepers: Emily Dickinson's Hidden Kitchen
Deep in the hidden archives of Harvard’s Houghton Library are the butter stained recipes of Emily Dickinson. Who knew? Emily Dickinson was better known by most as a baker than a poet in her lifetime. In this story a beautiful line up of “Keepers”— dedicated archivists, librarians, historians, Thornton Wilder, Patti Smith, and more—lead us through the complex labyrinth of Emily Dickinson’s hidden kitchen. A world of black cake, gingerbread, slant rhyme, secret loves, family scandals, and poems composed on the backs of coconut cake recipes and chocolate wrappers.
103 - The Keepers: The Lenny Bruce Collection
One of the most controversial, outspoken men of the last century, comedian Lenny Bruce spent much of his life in court defending his freedom of speech and First Amendment rights. His provocative social commentary and “verbal jazz” offended mainstream culture and resulted in countless arrests on obscenity and other charges. Over the decades, since his death from a heroin overdose in1966, Lenny’s only child Kitty Bruce, became his keeper, gathering and preserving everything related to her father’s life. We follow the saga of this collection from daughter Kitty's attic — to archivist, Sarah Shoemaker, who drove a van to Kitty’s house in Pennsylvania to gather this historic collection to take to Brandeis University. With the help of an endowment from Bruce's long time friend and supporter Hugh Hefner, creator of Playboy Magazine, and his daughter Christie Heffner, the collection is now cataloged and open for use by all. The archive comes alive in the story of this brilliant, pioneering, complicated man who paved the way for comedians like George Carlin, Richard Pryor and Lewis Black.
102 - Archive Fever: Henri Langlois and the Cinémathèque Française
Keepers: people possessed with a passion for preservation, individuals afflicted with a bad case of Archive Fever. The Keepers continues with the story of one such man, Henri Langlois, founder and curator of one of the world’s great film archives, the Cinémathèque Française. Henri Langlois never made a single film — but he's considered one of the most important figures in the history of filmmaking. Possessed by what French philosopher Jacques Derrida called "archive fever," Langlois begin obsessively collecting films in the 1930s — and by the outset of World War II, he had one of the largest film collections in the world. The archive's impact on the history of French cinema is legendary — as is the legacy of its controversial keeper.
101 - The Keepers: The Pack Horse Librarians of Eastern Kentucky
During the Depression, those horrible years after 1929, the Appalachians were hit hard. Coal mines were being shut down. Many people were living in dire poverty with no hope. In 1936, as part of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the Kentucky WPA began to hire pack horse librarians, mostly women, to carry books to isolated cabins, rural school houses and homebound coalminers.
The routes were rugged and treacherous. The “bookwomen” followed creek beds and fence routes through summer heat and frozen winters — their saddlebags and pillowcases stuffed with Robinson Crusoe, Women’s Home Companion, Popular Mechanics. Many people were illiterate and the women often stayed and read to them.
The pay was $28 a month. Each woman was required to supply her own horse or mule, their food and boarding. When the program closed in 1943 as America entered World War II, nearly one thousand pack horse librarians had served 1.5 million people in 48 Kentucky counties.
100 - The Keepers: Archiving the Underground—The Hip Hop Archive
This is the first episode in our new series THE KEEPERS —stories of activist archivists, rogue librarians, curators, collectors and historians—Keepers of the culture and the cultures and collections they keep.
We begin at The Hip Hop Archive and Research Center at Harvard . In the late 1990’s the students of Dr. Marcyliena Morgan, Professor of Linguistics at UCLA, started falling by her office, imploring her to listen to hip hop. They wanted her to hear this new underground sound and culture being created, the word play, the rhyming, the rapping. They wanted her to help them begin to archive this new medium. “Hip Hop *is *an archive," they told her. Dr. Morgan wasn’t an archivist and she didn’t listen to hip hop. But she listened to her students and saw a new kind of soundtrack emerging from the cracks.
Bit by bit she opened her office and her resources and began to collect the history and material culture of hip hop. Some 15 years later the Archive has gone from her office at UCLA to Harvard, where she and Professor Henry Louis Gates founded The Hiphop Archive & Research Institute at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute whose mission is to “facilitate and encourage the pursuit of knowledge, art, culture, scholarship and responsible leadership through Hiphop.” Along with gathering everything about hip hop for preservation and study, the Archive created the Nasir Jones Fellowship for scholarly research in the field, named for Nas, one of hip hop’s titans, and the “Classic Crates Project,” a collection that aims to archive 200 seminal hip hop albums in the same Harvard music library that houses the works of Mozart, Bertolt Brecht and Edith Piaf. The first four—Nas’ “Illmatic,” “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” and “The Low End Theory” by a Tribe Called Quest have been inducted into the University’s Loeb Music Library.
You’ll hear from Professor Marcyliena Morgan, Nas, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Nas Fellow Patrick Douthit aka 9th Wonder, The Hip Hop Fellows working at the Archive, an array of Harvard Archivists, and students studying at the Archive and the records, music and voices being preserved there.
And we take a look at the Cornell University Hip Hop Collection , founded in 2007, through a sampling of stories from Assistant Curator Jeff Ortiz, Johan Kugelberg author of “Born in the Bronx,” and hip hop pioneers Grandmaster Caz, Pebblee Poo, Roxanne Shante and more.