Dance of the Flyers AKA Voladores ‘Flying Men’

Today in celebration of Cinco De Mayo, we bring you an excerpt of the Mexican Jesuit Francesco Saverio Clavigero’s book, The history of Mexico. Collected from Spanish and Mexican historians, from manuscripts and ancient paintings of the Indians. Illustrated by Charts and other copper plates. To which are added, critical dissertations on the land, the animals, and inhabitants of Mexico.

This book is available for research M-F 9-4:30 and is part of our Archives & Special Collections as well as available electronically as part of the Internet Archive.

I chose to highlight pages 402 through 404 from Volume 1 that give a description of the mesoamerican ritual called the Dance of the Flyers AKA Pole Flying AKA Ceremony of the Voladores (Flying Men). The reason I chose to highlight this section is because I had the opportunity to see a performance of this ritual recently outside of the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.

This dance has been awarded a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity distinction and is described as follows on their website:

“The ritual ceremony of the Voladores (‘flying men’) is a fertility dance performed by several ethnic groups in Mexico and Central America, especially the Totonac people in the eastern state of Veracruz, to express respect for and harmony with the natural and spiritual worlds. During the ceremony, four young men climb a wooden pole eighteen to forty metres high, freshly cut from the forest with the forgiveness of the mountain god. A fifth man, the Caporal, stands on a platform atop the pole, takes up his flute and small drum and plays songs dedicated to the sun, the four winds and each of the cardinal directions. After this invocation, the others fling themselves off the platform ‘into the void’. Tied to the platform with long ropes, they hang from it as it spins, twirling to mimic the motions of flight and gradually lowering themselves to the ground. Every variant of the dance brings to life the myth of the birth of the universe, so that the ritual ceremony of the Voladores expresses the worldview and values of the community, facilitates communication with the gods and invites prosperity. For the dancers themselves and the many others who participate in the spirituality of the ritual as observers, it encourages pride in and respect for one’s cultural heritage and identity.”

Here is part of Clavigero’s description of the ritual:

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And the copper plate illustration of the ritual that faces page 4o2:

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As an added bonus, here is a short video I shot on my phone while experiencing the performance in February:

Russell Gerard Cresson, 1921 – 2017

Russell Gerard Cresson, for 40-years the official photographer of Loyola, passed away last month on April 23rd at the age of 96.

From 1949 until 1987, Cresson (also an alumnus of the University), documented Loyola’s campus, faculty, staff, students, and events. Much of this record is in our Loyola University Photographs Collection. Not all of our Cresson images have been digitized, but you can view the 8230 currently available through the Louisiana Digital Library.

We here in the Special Collections & Archives extend our deepest sympathies to Cresson’s family and friends and offer our sincere gratitude for his years of dedication to documenting the life of Loyola University.

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Wolf Yearbook picture editor Bob Reso (left) with University photographer Russ Cresson (right)

Collection Spotlight: May Day Edition

Today is May Day!

May Day (with its celebratory Maypole Dance) can be considered a day to celebrate spring in the northern hemisphere, or possibly known as a neopagan holiday (Beltane) that celebrates the time between the spring equinox and summer solstice. May Day is also otherwise known as International Workers’ Day; a day of celebration, protest, labor strikes, and commemorations of the organized labor movement.

In the context of May Day’s celebration of labor organization, we are shining our collection spotlight on some images from our New Orleans Social Justice and Activism, 1980s-1990s collection.

This collection consists primarily of materials related to social justice issues in and around New Orleans and Latin America from the mid-1980s to early 1991. The collection includes pamphlets and newsletters of various coalitions in opposition to David Duke’s 1990 gubernatorial campaign, contemporary news clippings, and reference materials on Duke and white supremacy. The collection also contains organizing materials in opposition to The Gulf War and local journals relative to labor parties, unions, and social justice, including Central American News, Bayou Worker, Second Line, Crescent City Green Quarterly, and Brad Ott’s Avant!, Dialogue, and Café Progresso. The papers of The Gary Modenbach Social Aid and Pleasure Club are also included.

Below you will find some images from Series I: Social Justice Literature, 1983-2002, a series that includes a wide array of New Orleans’ political action journals, newsletters, flyers and mailers concerning anti-racism, worker’s rights, environmental health, the Green Party, Central American solidarity, nuclear disarmament, and anti-David Duke coalitions.

Folder 14 of this series contains labor and environment-focused flyers, ephemera, and other miscellanea and is where the originals below are located.

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We hope you enjoyed this sample of the New Orleans Social Justice and Activism collection and follow these links to other blog posts that highlight our Social Justice collections.

These collections are available for research M-F 9-4:30 in the Special Collections & Archives at Loyola University New Orleans.

Here’s a bittersweet a song of an oft-unemployed union worker as an added Lagniappe; The Kinks’ “Get Back In The Line.”

Extended Study Hours

Monroe Library will once again be open 24 hours during final exams. Our hours are:

24 hours from 11am Sunday, April 30 to 2am Saturday, May 6
(closed Saturday, May 6 2am-9am)

9am Saturday, May 6 to 2am Sunday, May 7
(closed Sunday, May 7 2am-9am)

24 hours from 9am Sunday, May 7 to 10pm Thursday, May 11
Friday, May 12 7:30am-6pm

Closed Saturday, May 13 and Sunday, May 14

We offer free coffee 12am-7am during our 24 hour periods. Please be sure
to pick up an Extended Study Pamphlet at Monroe Librarys Learning Commons Desk.

Good luck on all your final exams and projects!

Contact Emily Bufford (Learning Commons Coordinator) at 504-864-7118 or edbuffor@loyno.edu for more.

Library History Resources

In Special Collections & Archives, we have a lot of different materials about the history of Loyola, New Orleans, and the Jesuits, and many years worth of different university publications. However, we also have materials related to the history of the library itself, and many of those items have been digitized!

There are many digitized photographs of students in the old library (all c. 1950-1960):

All of those pictures can be found in the University Photographs Collection. Clicking on one of the photos above will bring you to that collection in the Louisiana Digital Library.

There are also copies of library newsletters from 1983-2009. These newsletters were distributed primarily to students and faculty to highlight some of the resources and new technology in the Monroe library.

You can find these newsletters in the Loyola University Library History Collection. To view items from this collection in the Louisiana Digital Library, click on any of the images above. More digitized materials about the history of the library can be found in  the Maroon newspaper, the Wolf Yearbook, and the Bulletins.

While our digitized collections can be accessed 24/7, you can come visit us in Special Collections on the 3rd floor of the Monroe Library, Monday through Friday, from 9am until 4:30pm.

This post was written by student worker Maureen.

Marbled Monday: SC&A joins the Art Department

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For this week’s “Marbled Monday” post, I am sharing something a little different than usual. Last Wednesday, I had the pleasure of visiting professor Bill Kitchen’s bookbinding class in Loyola’s art department. As project assistant in Special Collections & Archives, my background in bookbinding and repair is something I love sharing with students interested in book art. I spent the afternoon teaching art students one of my favorite sewing patterns: the French-web or two-hole link stitch binding. I often use this particular sewing structure when repairing dis-bound books in our stacks. I chose to incorporate handmade paper tapes to add a bit of style to the exposed spines of their books and also allow for hard-cover attachment. The students did a fantastic job, and I had a blast working with them!

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ArchiveSpace

ArchivesSpace is an archives management tool that shows where each box of the archives is. I typed in all the possible Ranges, Sections, Shelves, and floors So I could begin inputting where the objects are. I spent mainly early March inputting the locations. I used most of my March and April internship inputting boxes onto its correct ArchivesSpace, Range, Section, Shelf, and Floor. I am still working on it. I spent almost forty internship hours working on this source.

Blog post by Intern Benjamin Schexnayder

Collection Highlight: M. Aguilar sets

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Occasionally I come across a few rare gems in our public stacks that I carefully rescue to be catalogued in Special Collections. Last week, I gathered many multi-volume sets in series of Spanish theater and poetry published by M. Aguilar in the 1940s-50s. What caught my eye was the hint of color on the top edge of one of the books, and when I pulled it from the shelf I gasped at the bright, intricate stencil that looks to have been airbrushed along the textblock’s head, tail and fore-edge. Some have faded over time along the head, but the edges that have not been exposed to light in some time are as bright as ever. The books vary in size and are all cased in soft leather dyed in various colors. Many feature whimsically illustrated end-sheets as you open the cover, and each has a sepia toned portrait of the author facing the book’s title page. A classy and surprising series indeed! You can now access these books in the Reading Room of SC&A, on the third floor of Monroe Library.

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! To celebrate we are sharing images from the fully digitized Lise Mary Magdalen Tallant Scrapbook.  Lise Tallant (1888-1972) created this book of colorful images and greeting cards as a young girl, around 1900. Explore the book for yourself!

Endangered Data Week

April 17-21 is Endangered Data Week, a new, annual, grassroots effort to…

  • raise awareness of threats to publicly available data of all kinds, across sectors and disciplines;
  • provide opportunities to explore the power dynamics of data creation, sharing, privacy, and retention;
  • build community capacity by teaching ways to make #EndangeredData more accessible and secure.

Sponsored by the Digital Library Federation with support from DataRefuge and CLIR, Endangered Data Week begins with a kick-off Twitter chat Monday, April 17th at 2pm Central; follow @CLIRDLF and use the hashtag #EndangeredData to join in. More related events are available on the event website, including some online. The week closes with a free webinar, Endangered Accountability: A DLF-Sponsored Webinar on FOIA, Government Data, and Transparency as 12pm Central on Friday, April 21.

So what can YOU do for Endangered Data Week?

  1. Read about Open Data, why it’s important, and why it’s currently being threatened
  2. Rescue some data! Get some friends together and host a workshop, or go solo on a data expedition.
  3. Tell stories: whatever you do, make sure to tell others about it!

Or, contact your friendly Digital Initiatives Librarian for more info.

Endangered Data Week is facilitated by a dedicated team of volunteers, including Brandon Locke and Jason A. Heppler, supported by the Digital Library Federation and in partnership with a new DLF interest group on Records Transparency/Accountability, led by Rachel Mattson. Additional supporters include DataRefuge and CLIR.