New(s) @ Axe

News and Events of the Leonard H. Axe Library, and of the
Kansas Technology Center Library - Pittsburg (KS) State University

Friday, February 23, 2007

Jefferson Highway Association, Crawford County Division, Records, 1915-2005

A new series of records have recently been added in Special Collections. The Jefferson Highway Association, Crawford County Division, Records, 1915-2005 contains items such as correspondence, minutes, maps, newspaper clippings and other related items to the Jefferson Highway, basically a precursor to Highways 69 and 71.

Here's the official description from the Special Collections page:

The Jefferson Highway Association, named after Thomas Jefferson, was formed in 1915 to build a highway through the Mississippi Valley. The highway was the idea of Edwin T. Meredith, publisher of Successful Farming and Better Homes and Gardens and later Secretary of Agriculture under President Woodrow Wilson, who thought the highway would be economically beneficial to the region's farmers. In November 1915 a meeting was held with representatives from all the Louisiana Purchase states to organize an association for the purpose of constructing an international highway from Winnipeg in Canada to New Orleans, Louisiana. This convention was also held to determine the route of the new highway. Several Kansas counties were competing against each other and against the state of Missouri to get to be part of the highway. A contest was to be held to determine the route between Kansas City and Joplin, Missouri, the winner to be determined by whichever state, Kansas or Missouri, completed the most miles of new road by September 1916.

The Crawford County division of the Jefferson Highway Association was formed after the 1915 convention to help plan and fund the highway. Townships and private landowners were to be the primary sources for funding. It was decided initially that the Kansas route would go through Pittsburg, Girard, and Fort Scott but there were several disagreements that took place while the road was being built. Some places did not want to fund the road and did not see it as a benefit. Girard was later excluded from the route, in spite of many protests, in favor of the Commercial Highway, which went north from Pittsburg to Arcadia and then to Fort Scott. The contest between Kansas and Missouri, in a decision that angered some, ended in a stalemate with both states being awarded the highway between Joplin and Kansas City. After these dual roads were built they were considered too narrow and rough. Despite all these problems, the highway was eventually competed and used by the area communities for many years. The federal and state governments later passed laws that enabled them to build and maintain better highways. The Jefferson highway designation eventually faded away with sections of the road becoming parts of US Highway 69 and US Highway 71.

Jefferson Highway Association members departing on a road inspection
trip from Pittsburg in July 1916. They are in front of Kettler
Furniture and Carpet Company, 409 North Broadway.

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You Don't Have to Come to the Library to Crack Your Favorite Dictionary or Encyclopedia Anymore

On February 4, 2007, in blog in the New York Times, former talk show host-turned-newspaper-columnist, Dick Cavett, castigated our President for his "goofy inability" to pronounce the word "nuclear", scolding our Leader with the words: "What is so hard? A school kid botching it Bush's way - "nuke-you-lur" - would have to stand in the corner. Fortunately, an oval office has no corners."

Very funny, Dick, but lighten up! Mr. Bush's problem is that he doesn't have access to the American Heritage Dictionary Online as we do here at Pitt State. Our online version is not only available to us here but at home, if you sign in with your "user name" (student ID) and "Pass word" (GUS Pin). And it has something that the paper version does not. If your computer has a speaker, just turn it up and click on the tiny speaker next to the definition (In our example, "Of or relating to atomic nuclei") and you will hear a smooth, well educated voice pronounce the word the way it should be pronounced (Nuke-Lee-Ar). If one of our students becomes the first Kansas President to inhabit the White House since Eisenhower ("American general and the 34th President of the United States (1953-1961)." American Heritage defines famous people, too.) that person will never make the same mistake.

But that's only my favorite dictionary. How about your favorite encyclopedia? Let's say you are putting together a report on a President (Ford) or another world leader (Saddam Hussein). And let's say that you think these two public figures have just died, but can't remember the date. And "googling" it is out because the teacher has asked you to use a reliable [translation: Non Web] source. Well, there is good news, here. Two of the best encyclopedias published in the United States, the Encyclopedia Britannica Online and the WorldBook Online, are available to our students. Both of these encyclopedias have unique features, such as a clickable atlas, and both are updated everyday. (Gerald Ford's death date is December 26th, 2006; Saddam Hussein's, December 30th). Oh, and at two in the morning, you remember that your teacher said "don't forget to put your citations in MLA (Modern Language Association) or APA (American Psychological Association) format." No problem. Both encyclopedias give MLA format. Britannica, not to be outdone by an arch rival, gives both. Just go down to the end of the article.

And we now have a whole library of reference books in the form of Oxford Reference Online, brought to us by Oxford University Press. Oxford has assembled about 230 of its premier reference books and made it possible for a student to search them all at once. One realy nice feature they provide is called the "Search Oxford Reference Button", a bit of javascript code that can be added to your browser's toolbar. You may search the suite of Oxford Reference works by highlighting a section of text on any web site and clicking on the Oxford Reference Button. Languages translated, words defined, biographies found... life is good.

In honor of President's Day, let's run a search on John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Twenty six entries come up, in such varied sources as A Dictionary of Space Exploration (because of his pledge to put a man on the moon in a decade), A Dictionary of World History, The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military, The Oxford Guide to the United States Government and the Oxford Companion to United States History, to name a few. Several of the other famous Kennedy relatives, such as his parents, Joseph and Rose, his wife, Jacqueline and his brothers, Robert and Edward also show up in the same search. And, yes, at the end of the article you are given the citation in MLA format.

One more perk. If you are using the reference works in the Library, you can send the articles to yourself via e-mail. So, maybe those "all nighters" can end at 11PM instead of 2 AM. And you won't need any "Red Bull".


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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Library Display Cases: A Way to Keep Abreast of College and National Events

Do you take an interest in national and international events? Would reading books, newspapers and magazines about them give you an idea for a report or speech.? Is it between terms and you find yourself with time on your hands to read? Then have a look at our library display cases. (First Floor Lobby and 2nd Floor Stacks.) If an event of interest comes up in the news or on campus, we gather our best books, magazines, government documents, films or web sites and put them on display for people to look at and, if they wish, take out. Everything in the cases, except for restricted items such as periodicals, is available to check out. We have covered the war in Iraq several times, and 9/11 at least three times. We cover elections, famous (or notorious) people, commemorative events, holidays and on campus events such as Alcohol Awareness Week. We occasionally cover Library events such as the Annual Gene DeGruson Memorial Lecture or the Annual Faculty Author Reception.

2nd Floor to be Dedicated to International Affairs and Culture

Dr. Ananda Jayawardhana, Associate Professor of Mathematics, recently approached the Library and asked us to set aside a display area dedicated to international themes. We promised him we would dedicate the second floor display area to this purpose. We just recently put a display up on African Art and Culture, which has many beautiful picture books on display about masks, sculpture and painting as well as pictures from web sites and online encyclopedias. However, when Dr. Jayawardhana informed us that the Chinese Student Association was celebrating the Chinese New Year on February 17, 2007 (Year of the Pig) at the First Church of the Nazarene, we made of a display on the first floor to honor Chinese Culture and History. We have pictures of Chinese New Year celebrations from New York City, two towns in California, London, Liverpool, Vancouver and Augusta, Georgia and books with Chinese fashions throughout the centuries, art, religion and food as well as material on China's new economic miracle.

In the future, we will announce all displays in our library newsletter. For more information, please contact Jane Victor.

- JV

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