Gelman and Eckles Libraries will be closed on Sunday, July 3 and Monday, July 4 to celebrate the Independence Day holiday.
Gelman will reopen at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, July 5. Eckles will reopen at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, July 5.
The year was 1847 and slavery was legal in the District of Columbia, although it was the site of significant anti-slavery activism. Two enslaved men, known only as Abram and John, were owned by Capt. Haynes of Virginia and brought to Columbian College to assist him in his work as the college's steward. Columbian College student Henry J. Arnold provided Abram with $14 and a letter for an attorney with the intention that Abram would file a lawsuit to win his freedom. For this act of bravery, Arnold was expelled from the college.
While the Arnold Case was not completely forgotten in the history of GW, it has remained largely obscure or else apocryphal to both scholars and the general public. Thanks to collaboration between DCAAP and the GW Libraries' digital services unit, the University Archives have now made available to scholars a cache of documents that illuminates this situation. The documentation consists of drafts and copies of letters written by Columbian College’s then-president, Joel S. Bacon, to Arnold, his family and others who inquired or appealed to Bacon about the matter. With this critical documentation, the story of enslaved people at Columbian College can now be more fully told.
Wednesday, June 15
5 - 6:30pm
Special Collections Reading Room (704)
Please join us as we celebrate the opening of the Corcoran Archives in its new home at GW Libraries Special Collections Research Center. Selections from the collection will be on display in the reading room and light refreshment will be served. Archivists will be available to answer questions and discuss what is known about the archives now and what may yet to be discovered in them.
The Special Collections Research Center is located in suite 704 of the Gelman Library. Photo ID is necessary to gain entry to the Library.
Nearly a decade has passed since the archives of the Corcoran Gallery and the Corcoran College of Art and Design—now the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design—were accessible to researchers. In June, nearly 2,000 boxes of historical documents and hundreds of thousands of architectural drawings, exhibition posters, photographs and oversized ledgers were donated to the George Washington University from the Corcoran board of trustees.
The Corcoran archives document the life and vitality of one of D.C.’s oldest cultural heritage institutions and provides nearly 150 years of insight into the history of American art museums and art education, from its founding in 1869 through 2014 when the historic agreements between the Corcoran, GW and the National Gallery of Art were finalized. The archives will be available to the public at the Special Collections Research Center in Gelman Library.
Learn more about the archives and how to access them on the Corcoran Archives webpages.