Library Volunteers Bring History, Passion to Special Collections
With Some in Their 90s, Volunteers Help the Library Organize Documents, Photos, Memorabilia
Jan. 13, 2014
C.V. Glines, a former Air Force pilot, professor and author, is curator of the General James "Jimmy" H. Doolittle Archives in the McDermott Library.
When C.V. Glines walks through the doors of the Eugene McDermott Library, he has one goal in mind – to finish what he started more than 50 years ago.
Glines, 93, is a former Air Force pilot, journalism professor and award-winning author. For a large portion of his career, Glines has written about aviation history, documenting some of the most important military figures and raids of our time. Now he spends time in Special Collections at McDermott Library, organizing material from one of his most memorable stories. As the curator for the General James “Jimmy” H. Doolittle Archives in McDermott Library, Glines has been telling the story of Doolittle, the WWII aviation pioneer known for leading the top-secret raid on Japan, since 1962.
“The Doolittle family is happy that his files and books are here so more people can learn about him.”
Glines’ career changed when he met a Doolittle Raider, one of 16 men who flew the first attack on the Japanese Home Islands. The Raiders were looking for a writer to tell the full story of their 1942 raid. Glines accepted the challenge and he went on to write three books on James H. Doolittle and the Raiders.
Today, his focus is no longer on writing articles, but he spends every Tuesday cataloging the material, organizing articles and other memorabilia, so it can be available for others.
Special Collections is a rich resource for the UT Dallas community. The department is full of rare books, documents and memorabilia covering a broad range of topics. Researchers interested in stamps and the Postal Service can utilize the Wineburgh Philatelic Research Library. For research on botany and horticulture, the Louise B. Belsterling Botanical Library is an expansive collection of rare books including the library’s oldest volume. Also in Special Collections are the Unique Book Collections and the University Archives. The largest section of the department belongs to the History of Aviation Collection, which encompasses the personal papers, pictures and books on Doolittle.
“Doolittle Raiders have been a large part of my life because I’ve known all of them,” said Glines. “I’ve gone to every reunion since ‘62 and they just had their final reunion. The Doolittle family is happy that his files and books are here so more people can learn about him.”
'Our collections go all the way back to the Wright Brothers'
John Luckadoo, a former combat pilot and real estate developer, volunteers in Special Collections.
John Luckadoo, 91, a former combat pilot in WWII and commercial real estate developer, has spent the last 15 years volunteering in Special Collections. Much like Glines, he was also a friend of George Haddaway, the man who started the aviation collection and later moved it to McDermott Library.
After retiring from his own business, Luckadoo inquired about working with the aviation collection. He helps catalog manufacturers’ files and over 400,000 negatives related to Braniff International. The company introduced many innovations in the airline industry, such as computerized reservations, instrument landing and jet-assisted takeoff.
Of all the collections in Special Collections, Luckadoo says, the aviation collection is his favorite.
“Our collections go all the way back to the Wright Brothers. There’s an appreciation of the magnitude of information available for research of aviation,” Luckadoo said. “It’s extremely interesting. You learn a great deal about how collectors accumulate collections and the processing and preservations of researchers who can work with them.”
'Amazing woman who has accomplished a great deal of work'
Volunteer Helen Small does not have a background in aviation or the military, but her connection to the University is equally interesting.
Small, 93, worked in the Center for Vital Longevity for two years before an injury led to her resignation. When an opportunity arose to work in the library, Small took it. She began volunteering in Special Collections last year. An alumnus of UT Dallas, Small received her undergraduate degree in psychology at the age of 87. She got her master's degree in psychological sciences three years ago at age 90.
“I’ve always been grateful for The University of Texas at Dallas. That’s another reason why I do the volunteer work here. I’ve met so many wonderful people,” Small said.
Helen Small, who earned a bachelor's degree from UT Dallas at age 87 and a master's degree at age 90, helps chronicle University history.
Small works closely with University archivist Ty Lovelady and focuses on the history of UT Dallas and its archives.
“Helen is an amazing woman who has accomplished a great deal of work for the University archives that I would not have time to do personally,” Lovelady said. “She has seemingly endless energy as I am constantly having to bring more work to her.”
'A huge benefit to Special Collections'
Curator Patrizia Nava had nothing but praise for all of the volunteers in Special Collections.
“All of these volunteers are a huge benefit to Special Collections. Their expertise in aviation history is enormous. The volunteers help us process and describe collections, help index photographs and other archival materials," Nava said. "Without them, we would not be able to handle our huge backlog of collections that are in our holdings. Because of that, we have time to reorganize our archive, work with patrons and do reference work."
“I look forward to Tuesdays when the volunteers come in. … I am honored to know and work with them.”
Although the workload remains steady, the three volunteers say they will continue to work as long as they’re able and useful.
“I’m only 91. I have a long way to go,” said Luckadoo.
“As long as I’m mobile,” said Glines, jokingly.
“I am enjoying it. Everyone does their own thing and they’re very thorough about what they’re doing,” Small said. “The fact that you’re accomplishing something in enjoyable circumstances with enjoyable people. What more could you want?”
Paul Oelkrug, coordinator for Special Collections and Archives, echoes Small’s sentiment. He said the volunteers are more than just helpers, they’re friends.
“I look forward to Tuesdays when the volunteers come in. I have gotten to know them. With the three oldest in their 90s, I find their minds are as sharp as ever and physically, they are amazing. I am honored to know and work with them,” he said. “I can’t imagine them not being here.”