This past week we were asked to take a trip down to our local archives and meet the archivist. The archivist here at Montevallo is a fun man named Carey Heatherly, and he was a huge help in finding what we needed for our assignment. My partner Mary Haynes and I, armed with our questions and notebook, were ready to do some digging.

The first question had to do with the oldest book in the archives. We ended up with a the third edition of The Satires of Decimus Junius Juvenalis published in 1702. This particular copy was printed by Jacob Tonson, an 18th century bookseller and publisher famous for buying the copyrights to William Shakespeare’s plays. We do not know exactly how it ended up in the United States, let alone in Alabama, but we did discover through the archive’s book logs that the College bought it for $6.50 on February 8,1952 from someone known only as “Elizabeth Bkseller”.

The spine of The Satires

(Juvenal, Decimus. The Satires of Decimus Junius Juvenalis, 3rd ed. with sculptures. Jacob Tonson. Greys-Inn-Gate, London, 1702.)


Our professors then asked us to find a book with visible signs of wear and use  After searching for a bit, the best example we could find was a 1960 copy of The Mind of the South by W.J. Cash. This book had significant amount of both underlining and marginalia.


With the help of the archivist we discovered that this book actually belonged to Ethel Rasmusson. Ethel was not only an avid donator to the archives, but also an instructor of history at the University of Montevallo. She received her master’s degree from the University of Chicago, and mainly taught History 101 and 102. Based on the areas underlined and the marginalia, we assume that this book as used to teach part of her class.

Minds of the South by W.J. Cash

(Cash, W.J. The Mind of the South, 1st Vintage Ed. Vintage Books Inc. New York, 1960.)


Finally, our professors sent us out to discover a collection within the archives. When told this, the archivist pointed us towards the Library of Science collection. Identifiable by a stamp on the inside of the cover, this ongoing collection is made up of children’s books with vibrant drawings in them.

The identifying stamp that shows this book is a part of the collection

Some of the books included are stories like Gulliver’s Travels by Swift, The Haunted Bookshelf by Morley, Merrylips by Dix, and many more. The cool part about this collection comes for the history of it. Mainly used during the 20’s and 30’s, these books were used in classrooms to show prospective teachers how to build a classroom library. We did some digging and actually found the course descriptions of the classes that used this collection. Book Selection was the name of the class, under the code of LS (Library Science) 301/302; the class was taught by Greta Largo who was an assistant professor in Library Science.  The significance of this collection stems from our area’s deep history in education for women because not only was it taught during the time of Alabama College for women but, also because Education was (and still is) the largest major on campus.

The collection of children’s books

The first visit to the archives was a complete success, and I cannot wait to discover more and more as this course continues.