Browne Popular Culture Library

PCLMS-203: The Atomic Age Opens Collection

Introduction | Historical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series Description | Inventory

Introduction

The Atomic Age Opens collection was deposited with the Browne Popular Culture Library in the summer of 2000 by Alison M. Scott, Head, Popular Culture Library. The collection, measuring 1 1/2 cubic feet, consists primarily of two scrapbooks containing mail art postcards solicited by the Popular Culture Library in the spring and summer of 1995 for an exhibition that was part of the conference "The Atomic Age Opens: American Culture Confronts the Bomb." The conference was held at BGSU in July 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of the first detonation of the atomic bomb. The collection also includes a small number of brochures and programs, a copy of a book containing a selection of papers presented at the conference, and a copy of an exhibition text for another display shown in the library during the same time period.

No restrictions have been placed on the use of this collection.

The register was compiled by Dana Nemeth in September 2006.

Historical Sketch

"The Atomic Age Opens: American Culture Confronts the Atomic Bomb" conference was held at Bowling Green State University July 13-15, 1995. The conference was sponsored jointly by the Popular Culture Library and the Department of Popular Culture to mark the 50th anniversary of the first atomic bomb. The conference included presentations of scholarly papers, film screenings, a banquet, and two exhibitions organized by the Popular Culture Library.

The first exhibition, on display in the Jerome Library's first and fourth floors from June 15-August 7, 1995, was "The Atomic Age Opens: Selections from the Popular Culture Library." The show was prepared by Alicia Germer, an American Culture Studies doctoral student, and traced the popular responses to the atomic bomb from the 1940s through the 1990s using pulp magazines, comic books, paperbacks, postcards, and movie posters from the Popular Culture Library's holdings.

The second exhibition, on display from June 15-August 15, 1995 in the Popular Culture Library, was "The Atomic Age Opens Postcard Project," coordinated by Sarah Black, a member of the Printing and Graphic Arts Department of the Toledo Museum of Art. A call for submissions of mail art was issued in the late spring, which noted that any postcards received would become part of the permanent archive at the Popular Culture Library. All postcards received were exhibited, which included pieces from England, France, Italy and Japan, as well as artists from Bowling Green and elsewhere in the United States. In all, more than 150 cards were received. The postcards were scanned after the exhibition closed and were made available for viewing online at the Browne Popular Culture Library's website. At the time of this manuscript collection register's compilation, these images were still accessible online. (Online exhibit will be available soon.)

A book of selected papers presented at the conference was published in 1997 by the University Press of America, which was edited by Alison M. Scott, Head, Popular Culture Library, and Christopher Geist, Chair, Department of Popular Culture (The Writing on the Cloud: American Culture Confronts the Atomic Bomb). A microfilm edition of the same title contains a selection of papers not included in the book, which was produced by the Bowling Green Center for Popular Culture Studies the same year.

Scope and Content

The materials in the collection all date from 1995 through 1996, with the exception of the book of the selected papers from the conference, published in 1997.

Material related to the conference includes a promotional flier, a mailer with the tentative program and registration information, a booklet, and the book of published papers.

Material related to the mail art exhibition includes copies of the call for submission postcard, the exhibition catalog illustrating 186 images that were received, and two scrapbooks. The scrapbooks contain 158 mail art postcards and various other sized mail art and related material sent for the exhibition from April 1995 through February 1996. For purposes of storage, the oversized material found in the two scrapbooks was removed and filed separately in folders. (See the inventory for a complete listing.) It should also be noted that some of these materials are in Japanese, Spanish, and Italian.

In addition, the collection contains a typewritten copy of the exhibition script "The Atomic Age Opens: Selections from the Popular Culture Library" and a newsletter with an article about the conference and the exhibitions.

This manuscript collection does not include the final conference program, but it is cataloged as part of the Browne Popular Culture Library's holdings (POP HN 58.A75 1995). In addition, it does not include the microfilm edition of other selected papers from the conference, but two copies are available at the Jerome Library (film HN 58.A76 1997 and cac MMS1478 mf).

These materials may prove to be useful to the researcher interested in mail art or the responses of American scholars, students, and artists to the 50th anniversary of the dawn of the atomic age.

Series Description

LITERARY PRODUCTIONS

EXHIBITION SCRIPT
[June 1995]
Typewritten manuscript: "The Atomic Age Opens: Selections from the Popular Culture Library"

SCRAPBOOKS AND SCRAPBOOK MATERIALS

SCRAPBOOKS
April 1995-February 1996
Two scrapbooks containing postcards and other correspondence submitted for the exhibition "The Atomic Age Opens Postcard Project." The material in the scrapbooks is arranged sequentially by exhibit number, which seems to have been assigned in rough chronological order by date received. Oversize material, the majority of which are unnumbered, was removed from the scrapbooks and filed separately in folders. Their original locations are noted within the scrapbooks.

PRINTED MATERIAL

FLIER/BROADSIDE
1995
Promoting "The Atomic Age Opens: American Culture Confronts the Atomic Bomb" conference

MAILER/PROGRAM/REGISTRATION FORM
1995
Promoting "The Atomic Age Opens: American Culture Confronts the Atomic Bomb" conference

BOOKLET
1995
Historical chronology and filmography, 1945-1965, presumably distributed at "The Atomic Age Opens: American Culture Confronts the Atomic Bomb" conference

BOOK
1997
Publication of selected papers presented at "The Atomic Age Opens: American Culture Confronts the Atomic Bomb" conference

POSTCARDS
1995
Call for submissions, "The Atomic Age Opens Postcard Project"

EXHIBITION CATALOGS
1995
Illustrating mail art received for "The Atomic Age Opens Postcard Project" exhibition

NEWSLETTER
Fall 1995
Contains article about "The Atomic Age Opens" conference and exhibitions

Inventory

Box 1

Folder

  1. Exhibition script, typewritten. "The Atomic Age Opens: Selections from the Popular Culture Library" by Alicia Germer, American Culture Studies, 26 pp., [June 1995]
  2. Mail art, Nos. 47 and 48, by Joel Lipman, Toledo, OH, June 10 & 12, 1995
  3. Mail art, No. 49, by Joel Lipman, Toledo, OH, June 10, 1995
  4. Mail art, No. 50, by Joel Lipman, Toledo, OH, June 10, 1995
  5. Mail art, No. 51, by Joel Lipman, Toledo, OH, June 10, 1995
  6. Correspondence from Hilltop Press and copy of "Data Dump #8" (nuclear poems listing), West Yorkshire, England, Feb. 10, 1996
  7. Mail art, by Giovanni Strada, Ravenna, Italy, Feb. 6, 1996
  8. Two mail art postcards, Simon Cutts, Norfolk and London, England, [n.d.]
  9. Correspondence from Luce Fierens, Mechelen, Belgium, Jan. 11, 1996
  10. Correspondence and mail art from Malok, Waukau, Wisconsin, Jan. 8, 1996
  11. Extra copies of mail art postcard No. 39, by Prizelie, with mailing envelope, June 7, 1995
  12. Mail art project materials from Shozo Shimamoto and other artists, Nishinomiya, Japan, [June] 1995
  13. Resume. Edwin Velazquez Collazo, [1995]
  14. Correspondence from mail artists John Klear and Todd Wright [pen name: Opie Treewheedler], [1995]
  15. Mail art, by Giovanni Strada, Ravenna, Italy, July 13, 1995
  16. Two mail art postcards, No. 168, by Sharon Wright Pettus, Ground Zero Press, 1995
  17. Exhibition catalog. "Reflections on Hiroshima and Nagasaki: International Mail-Art Show Commemorating the 50th Annniversary of Hiroshima/Nagasaki," Berkeley Public Library, California, 20 pp.Aug. 1-15, 1995
  18. Exhibition catalog. "Suenos Rotos/Silencios Rotos/Marisa Gonzalez," Galeria Vanguardia, Bilbao [Spain], Feb. 1995
  19. Exhibition flier. "Mailart on Mailart: International Mailart Exhibition," Dundee, Scotland, Jan. 13 -March 13, 1995
  20. Postcard by Itie Langeland, Groningen, Holland, with original mailing envelope, 1995
  21. Correspondence from Steve Sneyd, "Data Dump #7," "Data Dump #13" (nuclear poems listings), and other fliers, Hilltop Press, West Yorkshire, England, Feb. 9, 1996
  22. Fliers for solo exhibition and mail art exhibition for artist Tetsu Watanabe, Yamanashi, Japan, Aug. 5-11, 1995
  23. Mail art postcard with correspondence, Patricia Tavenner, The Eternal Press, Jan. 15, 1996
  24. Mail art exhibition material for Tetsu Wanatabe pieces, Japan and Australia, March-June, 1995
  25. Promotional flier/broadside for "The Atomic Age Opens" conference, sent by BGSU Continuing Education, 1995
  26. Mailer containing tentative program and registration form for "The Atomic Age Opens" conference, sent by BGSU Continuing Education, 1995
  27. Booklet. "The Atomic Age: Facts and Films from 1945-1965" Historical chronology and filmography with bibliography, 14 pp., [July 1995]
  28. Book. The Writing on the Cloud: American Culture Confronts the Atomic Bomb. Landham, MD: University Press of America. Edited by Alison M. Scott and Christopher D. Geist, 241 pp., 1997
  29. Three postcards, call for submission, "The Atomic Age Opens Postcard Project", 1995
  30. Two exhibition catalogs. "The Atomic Age Opens Postcard Project/A mail art exhibition at the Popular Culture Library/ Bowling Green State University/Bowling Green, Ohio/15 June to 15 September 1995," 16 pp., 1995
  31. Newsletter. BGSU Libraries. Vol. 6, No. 3, 8 pp. (article about conference and exhibitions on p. 6), Fall 1995
  32. Poster (2 copies), 1995

Material in folders 2-5 was removed from Scrapbook 1. See Box 2.
Material in folders 6-24 was removed from Scrapbook 2. See Box 2.

Box 2

Folder

  1. Scrapbook (1 of 2) Contains exhibition brochure, call for submissions postcard, and 110 mail art postcards, Nos. 1-125, April-July 1995
  2. Scrapbook (2 of 2) Contains 48 mail art postcards and mail art of various media, Nos. 126-169, July-Sept 1995

(Note: Five pieces of larger mail art and envelopes were removed from Scrapbook 1 during the processing of this collection and are filed in Box 1, Folders 2-5)

(Note: Pieces of international mail and other material that was filed together at the end of Scrapbook 2 were removed during the processing of this collection and are filed in Box 1, Folders 6-24)

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