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Big Brothers in Flint — Ryder Papers Now Available in Archives

 


Historical Information on Flint’s Big Brothers Organization


 

In 2015, Robert Ryder of Reston, Virginia, donated the papers of his late father, Joseph T. Ryder (1906-1979) to our University of Michigan-Flint Genesee Historical Collections Center.

These papers have been processed and are now available for researchers to access on-site.

Joe Ryder (1978)
Joe Ryder (1978) (Click to enlarge any photograph)

Who was Joe Ryder?   Joe was the person largely responsible for Flint, Michigan having a vibrant and successful Big Brother program.

Ryder came from the Toledo area to Flint in 1944 to direct the Flint Youth Bureau, a new program supported by the C. S. Mott Foundation.

For the next 35 years, he led the organization and its successor, Big Brother of Greater Flint, to provide guidance to underprivileged boys who typically were delinquent or had no father at home.

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Flint Youth Bureau winter activity at the old Sugarbush, a favorite wintertime destination.

The collection provides ample documentation on the organization’s history, as well as his involvement in community education seminars held around the U.S., and on the national organization of Big Brothers. 

(Click to enlarge any photo)

 

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C.S. Mott, Harlow (Red) Curtice, and other automotive pioneers at the Cultural Center about 1958.

If you would like to learn more about Mr. Ryder and his association with the beginning of Flint’s Big Brothers organization, please contact our Archivist, Paul Gifford.

Better still, drop in and visit Paul at the Genesee Historical Archives to learn more about Mr. Ryder and other people and events which had an impact on our local, state and national development.

Genesee Historical Archives is located in the Frances Willson Thomopson Libray building, 2nd floor corridor (near the tube to UPAV).

Contact information and hours of operation for the Archive are available on the Thompson Library website at:

http://libguides.umflint.edu/friendly.php?s=library

 

Information on the Archive’s finding aids and digital collections may be found at:

https://www.umflint.edu/archives/archives



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Mott-Warsh Art Display; New Pieces on View in Library

Six new pieces have arrived at Thompson Library — on loan from the Mott-Warsh Art Collection.

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Click on any image to enlarge.

The art collection, owned by The Maryanne Mott and Herman Warsh Collection, contains samples of some of the very best late 20th century works by African American artists.

The mission of the Mott-Warsh Collection is to present contemporary fine art to public audiences in non-traditional venues as well as educational and cultural institutions.   University of Michigan-Flint (with its strong historical ties to the Mott family of Flint, Michigan) and the Thompson Library in particular fit perfectly with the mission and vision statements established by Maryanne Mott and her late husband, Herman Warsh.

The entire Mott-Warsh Collection currently consists of works by over 125 artists, featuring 20th century masters such as Romare Bearden and Elizabeth Catlett to new and innovative artists of the early 21st century, and includes a broad array of work from the abstract to the representative.  Common to all pieces within the collection is the focus on unique cultural and social experiences of Africans and Americans of African descent living and working in western (American) society.

Maryanne and Herman begun collecting their art with the intent to assemble and preserve rare works of art endemic to the African community and make them available to the wider audience through its lending program with the intent to educate viewers in art appreciation, art making processes, art history, 20th century American history and the history of the African diaspora.

The Collection contains over four hundred works and is supported by the Mott-Warsh research library which has assembled monographs, exhibition catalogs, auction catalogs and journals with subject concentrations in African American art as well as information on fine arts collection management.

Selected works from the Mott-Warsh Collection are currently on display at several locations around Flint, including the Flint Institute of Music, the Flint Public Library, the Ruth Mott Foundation, Mott Community College, Applewood, Kettering University Innovation Center and other locations.

Nationally, pieces are on loan at such renowned institutions as the Museum of Contemporary Art (San Diego), Wexner Center for the Arts (Ohio State University), Walker Art Center, Denver Art Museum, Rudenstine Gallery (W.E.B. DuBois Institute, Harvard University), the Seattle Art Museum, the Atlanta Center for Contemporary Art, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (Hartford), the Institute of Contemporary Arts (Boston) and many other museums and art galleries around the nation.

Thompson Library is proud to be numbered among such fine institutions in being selected as a location to display pieces from the Mott-Warsh Collection.

We would like to acknowledge the efforts of Mr. Michael Doyle — Mickey — who numbers among our reference librarians and serves as our Head of Access Services — for being instrumental in arranging our library’s participation as a display site for works from this esteemed collection.

Our first pieces were installed earlier in March of last year.   Those have been cycled out and the new pieces are now on display.  To view, enter the Thompson Library (3rd floor) and walk directly to the far wall.

This winter, the acclaimed Mott-Warsh Art Collection has brought to the Thompson Library a collection of the works of John Wilson (b. 1922).

Information on the artist  provided by the Mott-Warsh Collection:

The artist, a son of a follower of black nationalist Marcus Garvey, was introduced at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston) to the work of Daumier, George Groszk, Ben Shahn, and Picasso — artists who addressed social issues.   But it was the politically charged paintings of the Mexican muralists that especially impressed him.

In Paris, at the Museum of Man, he discovered the art of African and other non-Western cultures, and later he studied and worked in Mexico.  “Along with looking and listening, I began to read.  Orozco paintings told it like it was!  So did the stories of Richard Wright!”

The Richard Wright Suite is a set of six color acquatint prints inspired by African American novelist Richard Wright’s, Down by the Riverside.  The  narrative was first published in 1938 as part of a collection of four short stories in Wright’s book, Uncle Tom’s Children.  Artist John Wilson responds to Wright’s tragic story about Mann, a black man who dies trying to save his family during a storm.

In 2001, Wilson provided four color aquatints for the Limited Editions Club’s reprinting of Wright’s, Down by the Riverside.  The aquatints were printed by James Stroud of the Center Street Studio, Milton Village, Massachusetts “Norrie Fund.”

These prints on loan from the Mott-Warsh Collection are from a portfolio issued separately, in which Wilson included two additional prints, Death of Lulu and The Death of Mann, arguably the bleakest and most powerful images in the series.


 

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Thompson Library Now Display Site for World Renowned Private Art Collection

Thompson Library is proud to host works from the privately owned Mott-Warsh Art Collection.  The art collection, owned by The Maryanne Mott and Herman Warsh Collection, contains samples of some of the very best late 20th century works by African American artists.

While the collection consists of works in several mediums (including 3-diemensional works, sculpture, photographs, videos and mixed-media), Thompson Library will display examples of paintings from this esteemed collection.

The mission of the Mott-Warsh Collection is to present contemporary fine art to public audiences in non-traditional venues as well as educational and cultural institutions.   University of Michigan-Flint (with its strong historical ties to the Mott family of Flint, Michigan) and the Thompson Library in particular fit perfectly with the mission and vision statements established by Maryanne Mott and her late husband, Herman Warsh.

The Collection currently consists of works by over 125 artists, featuring 20th century masters such as Romare Bearden and Elizabeth Catlett to new and innovative artists of the early 21st century, and includes a broad array of work from the abstract to the representative.  Common to all pieces within the collection is the focus on unique cultural and social experiences of Africans and Americans of African descent living and working in western (American) society.

Maryanne and Herman begun collecting their art with the intent to assemble and preserve rare works of art endemic to the African community and make them available to the wider audience through its lending program with the intent to educate viewers in art appreciation, art making processes, art history, 20th century American history and the history of the African diaspora.

The Collection contains over four hundred works and is supported by the Mott-Warsh research library which has assembled monographs, exhibition catalogs, auction catalogs and journals with subject concentrations in African American art as well as information on fine arts collection management.

Selected works from the Mott-Warsh Collection are currently on display at several locations around Flint, including the Flint Institute of Music, the Flint Public Library, the Ruth Mott Foundation, Mott Community College, Applewood, Kettering University Innovation Center and other locations.

Nationally, pieces are on loan at such renowned institutions as the Museum of Contemporary Art (San Diego), Wexner Center for the Arts (Ohio State University), Walker Art Center, Denver Art Museum, Rudenstine Gallery (W.E.B. DuBois Institute, Harvard University), the Seattle Art Museum, the Atlanta Center for Contemporary Art, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (Hartford), the Institute of Contemporary Arts (Boston) and many other museums and art galleries around the nation.

Thompson Library is proud to be numbered among such fine institutions in being selected as a location to display pieces from the Mott-Warsh Collection.

We would like to acknowledge the efforts of Mr. Michael Doyle — Mickey — who numbers among our reference librarians and serves as our Head of Access Services — for being instrumental in arranging our library’s participation as a display site for works from this esteemed collection.

Our first pieces were installed during the evening of Tuesday, March 17th and can be now viewed in Thompson Library, hung directly across the room on the far wall from the main entrance (3rd floor).

There are five pieces in total in our current display, all works by the late artist Jacob Lawrence.   This group of paintings, collectively entitled The Toussaint L’Ouverture Series, depicts the Haitian Revolution from the turn of the 19th century.  The impact of the Revolution on the then existent Napoleonic Empire forced France to sell the Louisiana territory to the young United States, changing the world forevermore.

Due to his circumstance, the artist was forced to use inexpensive paint materials available to him during the late 30s and early 40s.  Over time, his paintings in gouache (an opaque, water-based paint, sometimes referred to as “poster paint”) deteriorated.  Lawrence attempted preservation of some of these older works by silkscreening selected prints from his earlier series of works.  The five pieces currently on display are the result of his efforts, and remain vibrant images.

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Pieces (titles and descriptions) are as follows:

* * * * * * * * * *

General Toussaint L’Ouverture, 1986

General Toussaint L’Ouverture, Statesman and military genius, esteemed by the Spaniards, feared by the English, dreaded by the French, hated by the planters, and reverenced by the Blacks.

 

The Opener, 1997

General Toussaint L’Ouverture attacked the English at Artibonite and there captured two towns.

 

The March, 1995

General L’Ouverture collected forces at Marmelade, and on October the 9th, 1794, left with 500 men to capture San Miguel.

 

Marc, 1994

On March 24, he captured Mirebalois.

 

Contemplation, 1993

Returning to private life as the commander and chief of the army, he saw to it that the country was well taken care of, and Haiti returned to prosperity. During this important period, slavery was abolished, and attention focused upon agricultural pursuits.

 * * * * * * * * * *

Please stop by soon to view this limited collection, and others that will be on display in our library in the future.



 

Thompson Library Dedication Ceremony

Senator Kildee and guests.
Senator Kildee and guests.
Awaiting Guests in the Atrium of the new Frances Willson Thompson Library, October 1994
Awaiting Guests before the Dedication Ceremony begins in the Atrium of the new Frances Willson Thompson Library, October 1994

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Click on any photo to enlarge) 

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Dr. Thompson and Robert Houbeck, Director of the Library

 

Dr. Kenneth West, professor in UM-Flint History Department, speaks at library dedication ceremony, October 1994
Dr. Kenneth West, professor in UM-Flint History Department, speaks at library dedication ceremony, October 1994
Dr. Kenneth West, History Professor, October 1994
Dr. Kenneth West, History Professor, October 1994

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mayor of Flint, Woodrow Stanley, greets Senator Kildee at Library Dedication Ceremony, October 1994
Thompsons and news commentator, Joel Feick
Dr. and Mrs. Thompson discuss the new library opening with Channel 12 news commentator, Joel Feick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dedication Ceremony – official opening of the new Frances Willson Thompson Library, October 14, 1994

 

Senator Kildee chats with local resident and philanthropist, Ruth Rawlings Mott.
Senator Reigle chats with local resident and philanthropist, Ruth Rawlings Mott.

 

New Thompson Library Atrium, a favored study location of students.

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Thompson Library Celebrates 20 Years in New Facility

(Click on any photo below to enlarge.)

 

This fall we celebrate not one, but two milestones for the Frances Willson Thompson Library; the 20th anniversary of our beautiful building as well as the 20th anniversary of our participation with the UM-Ann Arbor based MIRLYN system.

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Atrium, Thompson Library, Dedication Ceremony, 10-14-94

Back on October 14, 1994, we hosted the dedication ceremony for the new Thompson Library in our beautiful Atrium.

While it wasn’t yet entirely completed — some furniture, shelving and a touch or two of paint was still needed — it was a fabulous new home for our resources, librarians and users.

Hosting the ceremonies, which included several local dignitaries and

Senator Reigle
Senator Reigle

UM-Flint administrators, was a high point in our history, but the path to opening the Frances Willson Thompson Library facility was a long and circuitous one for our campus.

Our history began in 1956 when the new UM-Flint campus and the then Flint Junior College opted to share a library collection to be housed in the new Mott Memorial Building.

Congressman Dale Kildee
Congressman Dale Kildee

The book collection of both colleges was then available to the students and faculty of either college.

The dual library opened in August 1957.   While each institution retained ownership of its own books, all items were held and housed and maintained jointly in the combined library facilities.

In February of 1958, a plan was approved for a new Mott College (then Flint JC) building that would house the consolidated collection of both colleges.

Charles Stewart Mott
Charles Stewart Mott

C.S. Mott gave more than one million dollars for the construction of the building, emphasizing the importance of a library as the heart of an educational institution.

The collection moved into the new building in the fall of 1960.

In 1974, UM-Flint developed a master building plan which lead to the first building on the Flint campus, known as the Classroom & Office Building (CROB), later named in honor of Dean David French as French Hall.

CROB was completed and opened in January 1977, with the UM-Flint library collection moved to the 5th floor by 1978.

The library was to remain in this “temporary location” (plus the “library annex” located beneath the Harrison Street parking ramp) for the next 16 years.

UM-Flint hired David Palmer as its first Director of the Library in 1975.

Mr. Palmer’s primary directive at this time was to oversee the drafting of a plan and construction of a new library building.

Like Moses before him, Mr. Palmer did not enjoy the fruits of those dreams and plans as he retired in the early 90s, before construction of the new building even began.

Robert Houbeck, Director, Thompson Library, 10-14-94
Robert Houbeck, Director, Thompson Library, 10-14-94

In 1991, Robert Houbeck, formerly Head of Serials & Book Acquisitions within the UM Library systems on the Ann Arbor campus, was hired to replace Mr. Palmer.

 

 

 

Upon his arrival, Mr. Houbeck was thrown headlong into the planning stages of a new facility, working with the architectural firm that had designed the new underground Law Library in Ann Arbor, Gunnar Birkerts & Associates.

Joanne Sullenger, Vice-Chancellor of Development, University of Michigan-Flint
Joanne Sullenger, Vice-Chancellor of Development, University of Michigan-Flint
Frances Willson Thompson
Frances Willson Thompson

Thanks to the fund raising efforts of Vice Chancellor for Development, Joanne Sullenger, and the generosity of many donors — most notably Frances Willson Thompson — our new library facility was finally competed.

 

 

 

Our library celebrated its 20th anniversary in the new building this fall.

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F. W. Thompson Library, University of Michigan-Flint

 

We look forward to future growth and change that will lead us into an exciting future providing students, faculty and staff access to the latest information resources available in the world.



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