Monday, August 26, 2019

September Author Talk: Anthony Abraham Jack

The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students, by Anthony Abraham Jack
Thursday, September 12, 2019—Noon to 1:00pm
State Library of Massachusetts—Room 341, Massachusetts State House

The State Library of Massachusetts is excited to announce the first speaker in our new season of Author Talks, Dr. Anthony Abraham Jack, author of The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students. We invite you to join us for Dr. Jack’s talk and book signing at noon on Thursday, September 12, in Room 341 of the Massachusetts State House.

Dr. Jack’s book examines the overlooked diversity among lower-income undergraduates, highlighting in new ways how the college experience differs for the “privileged poor” (lower-income college students who graduated from private high schools) versus the “doubly disadvantaged” (lower-income college students from public schools). Throughout the course of his research, which included interviews with more than 100 undergraduates, Dr. Jack found that the privileged poor tend to enter college already familiar with the social and cultural norms of elite academic settings, unlike the doubly disadvantaged, who experience culture shock, isolation, and unfamiliarity with unspoken expectations, such as approaching professors during their office hours. As the book asserts, access is not the same as inclusion. The Privileged Poor urges us to change our perception of diversity in higher education, with the goal of creating a community of inclusion in our colleges and universities.

Author Anthony Abraham Jack holds the Shutzer Assistant Professorship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. He is a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and an assistant professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. A first-generation college student, Dr. Jack earned his B.A. from Amherst College and his Ph.D. from Harvard University. In 2016 he was named an Emerging Diversity Scholar by the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan, and his work has been featured in numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe.

The State Library’s Author Talks are free and open to everyone. Don’t miss your chance to see Dr. Jack at the State Library before he resumes his nationwide book tour!

Laura Schaub
Cataloging Librarian

Monday, August 5, 2019

Thursday, August 1, 2019

On Display in the State Library

A few months ago the State Library acquired a new exhibit case! Custom designed with UV filters
and SmartGlass, the case allows us to safely display some of our oldest and most important collection items. The contents of the case will change monthly, and while we encourage all of our readers to visit the main reading room to see the exhibited item in person, we will also share the item through our social media accounts and this blog!

This month, we’re displaying a broadside that was distributed as an “Appeal from Boston for Aid after the Great Fire, 1794”.  In 1794, the part of downtown Boston that is currently bordered by Milk, Pearl, Purchase and Congress Streets was home to residences and a number of ropewalks (a long, narrow building where ropes are woven by hand). In the early morning of July 30, a fire broke out in one of the ropewalks and spread quickly, destroying seven ropewalks and approximately ninety other buildings (primarily houses, outbuildings, barns, and stores). The fire was so extensive that additional engines were brought in from Brookline, Cambridge, Charlestown, Milton, Roxbury, and Watertown. An account of the fire was written up in the July 31 edition of the American Apollo, a copy of which is also in the State Library’s collection. The article, titled “Horrid Fire,” describes the affected area, lists the home and business owners who lost property, and thanks the fire engines from neighboring towns that provided assistance.

On August 5, Boston Selectmen issued a broadside in response to the devastation caused by the fire, calling attention to the residents whose lives changed “in an instant, from a situation convenient and comfortable, to a state of deplorable poverty and want.” The broadside was then distributed to cities and towns throughout the state in an effort to raise funds for assistance. The copy in the State Library’s collection was sent to the selectmen of Shutesbury, along with the handwritten instruction to share it with the town, likely as an announcement during a town meeting.

Do you notice a familiar name in the broadside’s list of selectmen? Charles Bulfinch, the architect of the State House (along with other Boston landmarks and the United States Capitol), served as a selectman from 1791 to 1795 and again from 1799 to 1817. During his tenure, he greatly improved Boston’s infrastructure, commercial areas, and public buildings. Stop by the State Library, in the building that Bulfinch designed, to see this document on display through August 29.

By Elizabeth Roscio
Preservation Librarian