Spotlight: Two Newspapers, Two Exposés

Posted by: Daniel Lavoie


The 2015 film Spotlight recently won the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Picture and earned six Oscar nominations. The film follows the Boston Globe’s investigation and reporting of the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal under Cardinal Bernard Law. The coverage began on January 6, 2002 and is widely credited with helping to uncover the depth of the scandal throughout the U.S. The Globe was awarded a Pulitzer for their reporting on the subject in 2003.

But did you know that the story first broke in the Boston Phoenix almost a year earlier?

Northeastern University’s Archives and Special Collections is the new home of the Boston Phoenix Collection, which contains over 30 articles and editorials covering the scandal. In particular, the collection includes Kristen Lombardi’s ground-breaking article “Cardinal Sin,” the evocative cover story of the March 23, 2001 issue.



Lombardi’s “Cardinal Sin” investigated the 25-plaintiff civil lawsuit against Father John Geoghan of the Boston Archdiocese, which additionally named Cardinal Bernard Law, Boston’s archbishop, as a defendant. The article uncovered Geoghan’s history of sexual abuse, his failed treatments, and his numerous reassignments by the Church in an attempt to hide the truth. In addition—through interviews with victims and an insightful evaluation of past abuse cases—Lombardi illustrated that the Church preferred to settle out of court and reassign those accused, offering no real solutions or justice. The Phoenix and Lombardi continued coverage of Cardinal Law and the sex abuse scandal through 2003. A bibliography and links to the articles are located in the Boston Phoenix Collection website archives.

In publication from 1965 to 2013, the Phoenix remains an invaluable source of reporting on major Boston subjects—from school desegregation to LGBTQ issues to Occupy Boston—shining a light on the most controversial of topics. The paper has received multiple awards in journalism from the New England Press Association, the Penny-Missouri Newspaper Awards, and the American Bar Association Gavel Awards.

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections


There’s a Starman Waiting in the Archives: David Bowie dies at age 69

Posted by: Kieran McGhee


When news of David Bowie’s untimely death went public on the morning of January 11, 2016, artists ranging from Madonna to Iggy Pop to Guillermo del Toro made statements of sadness and disbelief concerning the passing of Major Tom. Sleater-Kinney guitarist and Portlandia actress Carrie Brownstein encapsulated it best when she tweeted: “It feels like we lost something elemental, as if an entire color is gone.”

The Boston Phoenix Collection in Northeastern University’s Archives and Special Collections contains reviews, photographs, and articles documenting David Bowie’s artistry, ranging from his music and film careers to his political prowess, even his opinion on Todd Haynes’ controversial Bowie-inspired film, Velvet Goldmine.


“Bowie’s Martian Spiders Spin New World” in a 1972 issue of  The Boston Phoenix


The Boston Phoenix won numerous awards for journalism in its lifetime, including in 1994 when classical music writer Lloyd Schwartz was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. Ben Gerson’s  1972 article “Bowie’s Martian Spiders Spin New World” highlights the in-depth nature of the alternative newspaper’s music journalism. Showcasing the sexual, political, and artistic nature of Bowie’s music and showmanship, Gerson’s artistic profile of Bowie is beyond music reporting—it is an academic dissection of Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” tour. Referenced in Elizabeth Thompson and David Gutman’s The Bowie Companion, Gerson calls Bowie’s body a “laboratory, free of morphological determinants,” analyzing Bowie’s lyrics, performance, costumes, and philosophies.

From a query as to why Bowie would want to perform on the A&E channel’s Live by Request in 2002, to a celebration of “the best record ever made about apocalypse, interplanetary lust, singer-songwriter role playing, and rock-and-roll-as-alien-outsider stuff,” The Boston Phoenix Collection offers insight into the reception of Bowie’s ever-changing identities. An elusive and iconic figure, Bowie is frequently cited as an inspiration not only by newer artists, like Lady Gaga, but also by contemporaries, like Mick Jagger.

To explore the coverage of mainstream and underground pioneers in the music industry visit the Archives in Snell Library.

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections


What’s New in Snell this Spring

Posted by: Jennie Robbiano


Here’s what you need to know about the library this semester.

Archives and Special Collections Acquires The Boston Phoenix

Copies of The Boston Phoenix

In September 2015, Phoenix owner Stephen Mindich donated the paper’s archive as well as its sister publications to the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections. For nearly 50 years, The Boston Phoenix was Boston’s alter­na­tive newspaper of record, the first word on social jus­tice, pol­i­tics, as well as the arts and music scene.

The physical collection is available in the Archives for research and perusal.


New: GIS and Data Visualization Drop-in Hours

Photo of GIS and Data Visualization Specialists

This semester, Bahare Sanaie-Mohaved and Steven Braun will hold weekly, informal drop-in hours for students and faculty interested in Geographic Information Services and Data Visualization.  Whether you need help with specific projects or just want to know what GIS is, all are welcome. Walk-in hours are every Thursday afternoon from 2:00 to 3:30pm in CoLab D, on the first floor of Snell Library near Argo Tea.

Learn about GIS and Data Visualization here!

Follow Northeastern Data Visualization on Twitter!

Spring 2016 Events and Workshops

Photo from Meet the Author: Dr. Kristen Costa

From exploring the history of Boston’s neighborhoods, to introductory workshops in the 3D printing and recording studios, to a storytelling slam with Foundation Year students, this Spring’s events at Snell cover a range of topics.

Keep your eyes on our calendar and follow us on Twitter @ClubSnell for the most up to date information.


Support in Your Subject Area

Photo of Research help room

Did you know there’s a librarian who’s an expert in you subject? No research question is too small or too complicated for our subject librarians.

Find your subject librarian here to set up an appointment or find them at the Research Help desk on the first floor.

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Library News and Events, Research Guides by Subject, Serendipity


Welcome Spring 2016 Co-ops

Posted by: Kaley Bachelder


Snell Library is happy to welcome three new co-ops this semester:

Aidan Breen: Digital Media Commons Studios Co-op

IMG_2223Aidan Breen is the DMC Studios recording engineer and video co-op. He is almost done earning a degree in Music Industry. He enjoys making noise and songs with his friends and making short films, as well as writing short stories and screenplays. He looks forward to learning as much as possible about the recording process and techniques, in addition to getting more experience with video production. His favorite films are “Night of the Hunter,” followed in close second by “The Proposition.” His favorite band right now is either Ava Luna or Show Me The Body, though he has been listening to the soundtrack of the Broadway production of Sweeney Todd quite a bit. Come visit him in the DMC studio on the second floor in Snell.



Madison Maduri: 3D Printing Studio Co-op

IMG_2215Madison Maduri is the new 3D Printing Studio Manager Co-op in Snell Library. Madison got her start at Northeastern with NUin. England, and is now a third year Art+Design student, majoring in Media Arts with a concentration in Animation. Madison looks forward to learning the 3D printing technologies, which are increasingly being used in the development stages at animation studios. She also hopes to create a friendly and inviting environment in the studio to share the technology with the Northeastern community. Madison grew up close by on the South Shore of Massachusetts and enjoys her summers visiting the beautiful beaches on the Cape and Islands. She also looks forward to another season on the slopes snowboarding.



Kaley Bachelder: Marketing and Events Co-op

IMG_2220Kaley Bachelder is the new Marketing and Events Co-op here at Snell. She’s earning a degree in English and Theatre, a major that doesn’t yet exist (but she’s working on that). Kaley looks forward to planning events this semester, particularly the Neighborhood Matters series, where her passion for social activism can find an outlet. When not in the office, you can find her attending club meetings, watching television, or rummaging through someone’s fridge. Her favorite authors include Terry Pratchett and Jennifer Egan, and her new favorite past time is tearing each page off her page-a-day calendar. Kaley is excited to become a member of the library community!

Posted in: Jobs


Framing the Future of STEM Education by Giving Voice to the Past

Posted by: Michelle Romero


Portrait of Kelly J. Conn. Portrait of Mya M. Mangawang.

Guest Post by Kelly J. Conn, Ph.D. and Mya M. Mangawang, Ph.D.

Lowell Institute School seal.I will never forget the thrill I felt as I worked my way carefully through the meticulously organized folders and boxes of the Lowell Institute School archive collection housed in the Northeastern University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections Department of Snell Library. What would be in the next folder? A poem? A work of art? A legal document? A handwritten letter? How were all these items connected? What story did these archives have to tell of the rich history of the 112-year-old Lowell Institute School, which was embraced by Northeastern University in 1996?

Lowell Institute School Alumni Association seal.

While many aspects of the School’s early history had previously been shared in different ways by various authors, an account that combined these stories into a comprehensive narrative that spanned the period from the arrival of the Lowell family in New England through today had not yet been published. My co-author, Dr. Mya M. Mangawang, and I set out to tell that story, not only to celebrate and honor the Lowell family, their Institute, and the School they began, but also to help frame the most recent vision for the future of the School in meeting the needs of the critical areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Lowell Institute School at Northeastern University history.This history is meant both to document the past and point to the future in order to highlight the ways in which the Lowell Institute School has met, and is well-positioned to continue to meet the needs of our STEM industries for years to come. We hope that you, as our readers, will appreciate the well-defined and distinguished legacy of the Lowell Institute and Northeastern University, and will join us in our optimism about the powerful impact that the Lowell Institute School at Northeastern University will have on future generations.

The full text of The Lowell Institute School at Northeastern University is available in the Digital Repository Service.

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Engineering, Mathematics, Online Collections