When I attend classes, I have my cute and adorable yet necessary service dog living with me and by my side 24/7. The morning of one of my final exams, she woke me up with her belly aching and grumbling, so we took the morning easy to get ready, and she seemed better by the time I had to leave for my test; tail wagging, acting like herself, eating normally–all was good.
Half an hour into the final exam, in a dead silent room, she lets rip the loudest, longest fart I’ve ever heard come from a living being in my life. She was so offended by the smell of her own gut fumes she insisted on sitting on the other side of my desk. It was funny the first time; everyone got a good laugh and settled back down pretty fast.
By the sixth time, the entire room smelled like a sulfur pit and it was distracting even to the proctor.
The whole following summer, my poor pup maintained the reputation, not of a valiant, loyal service animal assisting her owner in his daily struggles, but of the ‘floats like a butterfly, smells like a skunk’ gas bag who cleared a gallery classroom of 250 students and both proctors by turning our testing area into a near-war zone.
Funny enough, she earned a lot of respect with the frats that year.
As a former MSU student, I find this absolutely appalling, but not exactly unexpected. Springfield is the same town where Neo-nazis show up to the yearly Pridefest, where KKK flyers are left on people’s doorsteps, and where most of the black population was run out of town by fear of lynching in the early 20th century.
The university says it promotes cultural competence and diversity, but are being oddly silent about these recent events, other than to try to stop the demonstration before it happened, and erasing sidewalk chalk messages (which never happens to the hundreds of sidewalk messages promoting religious gatherings or dance parties).
If you’re a white student at MSU (or anywhere), and you’re not speaking out about the way your fellow white students are acting, you’re part of the problem.
Of course, every library holds a great deal of sensitive material – works which have unfortunately inspired violence, such as political manifestos, controversial religious texts, and so on. But what about a book that could actually be physically dangerous to handle?
This is the story of MSU’s toxic book, a work that was produced not out of a desire to cause harm, but out of an altruistic concern for public safety.
Shadows from the Walls of Death came about due to the work of Robert C. Kedzie, a distinguished Civil War surgeon and professor of chemistry at MSU from 1863 to 1902. In this seminal study, Kedzie described the deadly effects of the arsenic-based pigment known as Paris Green, a popular coloring agent in 19th century wallpaper. Literature included with our copy summarizes his findings:
Kedzie showed through chemical analysis that the Paris Green
pigment was poisonous and that it was only weakly bonded to the paper. As a result, it detached from the wallpaper
easily, floating into the air as fine dust particles. Those who breathed in the poisonous dust
suffered from bronchitis, rheumatism, weight loss, severe headaches, and
Kedzie immediately reported his findings to the Michigan Board of Health. To spread the word about the dangerous pigment, widely used throughout the country, he cut up samples of the arsenical wallpaper and bound them together in books. Kedzie produced 100 such volumes, which he sent out to state libraries along with his scientific data and conclusions.
Before long, Kedzie’s shocking study had made its mark, and Paris Green was banned from use as a wallpaper pigment.
Most of the 100 copies of Shadows from the Walls of Death were eventually destroyed due to their poisonous content. MSU Special Collections houses the only complete copy of the wallpaper book known to have survived, and it sits unassumingly on our vault shelves.
Fortunately, our conservators have worked to lessen the threat of this deadly arsenic-laced volume. Each wallpaper specimen has been individually encapsulated to protect library staff and patrons.
from NPHC at Michigan State. our first painting was vandalized only four hours later, so we repainted it- and camped out the entire night to keep watch. the last picture is my contribution, two quotes from Geneva Reed-Veal, Sandra’s mother, rolled into one. I took this picture the next morning.
1. You will never sleep
2. You will be asked why you aren’t “working hard enough” even though you lock yourself into the practice rooms for multiple hours a day, and still have a pile of homework to finish.
3. Free time = practice time
4. What’s free time?
5. You will get sick at the most inconvenient times
6. Once one of you gets sick, all of you get sick.
7. Your entire world revolves around your accompanist. Keep them happy.
8. When you tell people that you are a music major, they will respond with “that sounds so fun! I wish I could play music all day,” and you will cry inside.
9. Your applied professor is your new diety.
10. Despite it all, at the end of the day, you are happy to be doing what you love.
Images from the #NJShutItDown Protests || December 10th, 2014
New Jersey college students collectively protested against police brutality and the systematic institution of racism. Students backed up major highways, chanted, marched, read off demands, and staged-die ins.