The Waring Library at Medical University of South Carolina

As I find a new focus for my blog since my doctorate is done, I will Reblog interesting articles and posts I see. This is a good find.

gretchen stringer robinson

Amid the tall buildings of the Medical University of South Carolina, tucked away in a shaded corner bordered by ancient oak trees, stands the Waring Historical Library.  This lovely brick building, evocative of a small castle, houses the special collections for M.U.S.C.  Included in this collection are rare books, journals, and artifacts of the health sciences.  This lovely find is named after the first director of the library, Joseph I. Waring, Jr., who was a medical historian and pediatrician.

Built in 1894 by Charles Frederick Hoffman, Rector of the All Angels Episcopal Church of New York, the original building cost $7,500.00.  The Reverend Hoffman erected it as a gift


for the Porter Military Academy.  Transferred to the Medical University in 1965, the library annually hosts the Warren A. Sawyer Lecture, and the Joseph I. Waring Lecture and meeting.  In addition to the lectures, the Student Medical History Club is sponsored by…

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I finished my Dissertation!

Hello All,

I know it’s been a while, but I have learned that sometimes, when you have a huge project, you have to focus on just that one and on nothing else. Because of that, I stopped this blog–but finished the doctorate. I am now Dr. Elizabeth Jamison, and it feels fantastic!

Please look for more posts from me in the future. I am going to focus now on several topics: completing the dissertation, research, teaching, publishing, and …. whatever else inspires me (and you). I will have to change the name of this site, but it will still be me posting.

Thanks for all the support I got throughout the years from you!

Elizabeth Jamison, PhD

Managing Multiple Projects at Once

Managing multiple projects is so difficult. I have my job as a teacher, planning and grading and teaching, being a mom and wife, keeping house, writing a dissertation, and also writing freelance. I loved Shannon’s post because she gives great advice about managing multiple projects.

The one thing I would add is to have your project goals visually in front of you. If you are writing two books, have two tables set out with your edits and questions and to-do lists, etc. so that you won’t forget. Same with research or with anything you are working on.

Shannon A Thompson


I’ve updated my publications picture! You can see it around my website, including my pages: About Me and Novels.


Managing Multiple Projects at Once

Okay. So here’s the truth. I’m not an expert on this topic. Personally, I’m struggling with this right now. While I’ve never found writing numerous books at the same time difficult, I do find marketing one book while writing another difficult, especially when they are in different worlds entirely. Maybe it’s the way my brain wires cross. It just doesn’t work. It hurts my cranium. My mushy muscle master feels…well, mushy. So here are my tips that I’ve come up with for others who’ve struggled like I have.

1. Set aside a time for each project:

Maybe you spend the morning writing and the evening marketing. Separating the two can help keep your mindset in check, and eventually, you mind will adjust to…

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You’re Spell Check is All Ways Write

I love this article! So many people are addicted to spell check … they trust it and don’t even edit afterwards! Please take a moment to read this blog post! You’ll never look at spell checker the same.

Shannon A Thompson

You’re Spell Check is All Ways Write

If you’re a writer or a reader, you probably just had a panic attack due to my horribly written title. Fortunately, you don’t have to correct me. I know it’s wrong. It’s terribly wrong. But here’s the funny part: my spellchecker didn’t even underline that sentence. In fact, according to a few technology programs, the title isn’t wrong at all, and that is why I love editors so much. Real editors. Human editors. Don’t get me wrong. I love programs that aid us just as much as the next writer. In fact, I have some of my favorite ones linked to below, but we can’t rely only on them, and that is what I’m talking about today. I have FINALLY uploaded Episode 3 to my YouTube channel – Coffee & Cats – and I hope you enjoy it! If you aren’t into…

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I can see a light at the end of the tunnel!

As I set out to begin this very late post, I started thinking about the future of this blog and of my blogging in general. When I finish my dissertation, I am going to have to either rename this blog or start a new one….And then what’s that new one going to be about?

Anyway, on to the real news: I turned in a good chunk of my work and got some great feedback! My dissertation advisor said I am on the right path and that it will probably be possible (if I keep up the pace) to graduate in December! I am really, really excited. I veered off-course for over a year when I started my freelance company, so it was a challenge to get going again.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so thankful for the freelancing. I have so many clips now that I can use in my CV and in my portfolio!

For this post, I would like to share how I got back on track with what seemed like an impossible amount of random pages and sources.

Last year, I spent all summer writing for companies and blogs; therefore, I did not spend much time on my dissertation. I would work hard for a day or two, and then I’d take weeks off, which would cause a huge disconnect when I would go back and try to pick up where I’d left off. Although I made notes to myself whenever I stopped working, it was still difficult to remember what I’d been thinking the last time I sat down at the computer.

From August to December 2013, I struggled with all the paperwork, trying to make sense of it while in the midst of a stressful semester teaching school. It felt like I had random files everywhere, and I was overwhelmed.

Right before Christmas break 2013, a good friend of mine gave me invaluable advice: Organize everything on tables so it is all sitting out chronologically according to the order of my chapters.

After I got organized, I got excited! A spark went off in me again, and I found myself newly motivated to get it done. I made my travel reservations at the ETS headquarters in Princeton, NJ, and was all set to do my archival research. That experience will be another blog post, because there is so much to say about the archival process!

Anyway, before I went to Princeton, I had to find a way to make sense of everything I had. I decided to try backwards outlining, and it was a great strategy for me.

Backwards outlining works just like you’d think: You start with what you’ve written (which in my case was a jumbled mess) and make an outline out of it. So instead of writing a paper from the outline, you create the outline from your paper. This strategy was grueling, but it helped me to see where the holes were in my research.

After I went to Princeton I tried to keep the dissertation at the forefront of my mind, even if I didn’t have time every day to work on it. Of course, the summer off made it easier to get work done. (I can’t believe that my summer is over in less than three weeks!)

I gave my professor about 2/3 of the paper, so now I have to revise, rewrite, revise, and finish the remaining chapters. Most of my issues can be solved by expanding on claims that I make or adding more commentary/analysis. I was so scared that my advisor was going to tell me to throw out half of it, but she didn’t, thank GOD.

One of the hardest aspects of writing a long paper is taking archival sources, raw data, and secondary sources and synthesizing them all together in your own words. For me, it just takes time to read, to understand how what I am reading helps move my topic forward, and then to write about it in a way that informs, is cogent, and is scholarly. Writing is tough! (I apologize for the casual style of this blog Post. The only academic writing I am doing right now is for the diss…)

So now we are heading down to Myrtle Beach, SC for a little family vacation, and I hope to get a little revision done. My goal is to get all my revisions and another chapter finished by the time school starts, so I have my work cut out for me.

If you are working on a big project and are feeling overwhelmed, try backwards outlining….it works! And, if you have any comments or suggestions, I welcome them. At this point I need all the support I can get!

Making Progress

This is the quickest post in the history of blog posts, but I thought I should let you all know that I am still here! 

I have made progress on my dissertation. This past weekend I wrote about ten pages, and I’m really getting into analyzing the data from my archhival research trip and putting it into words…I just hope my dissertation advisor likes it! 

I owe you and myself and this blog several long posts about the archival research process and my trip to Princeton, NJ. It was wonderful and exciting and enlightening!  So be on the lookout for a few great new posts. 

I must get ready for work now, so everyone, have a GREAT WEEK! 



What Can We Learn from the Winter Olympics?

As I watch the Ice Dancing portion of the Olympics, I can’t help but ask (as I do every time I watch) how do they DO it?

The French team just Ice danced the quickstep and it was just amazing. I can’t even do a cartwheel, and I had to go to six Arthur Murray dance lessons to learn how to do a simple waltz for my wedding…so, I am amazed at the talent and athleticism and musicality that these ice skaters have to have in order to get to the olympics.

So that’s what brings me to my question for readers: How much of the olympics is due to talent and athleticism, and how
much is because of hard work, discipline, and perseverance? As I watch these amazing athletes and listen to the commentary leading into their routines, I realize that there is so much more involved here than just this one competition. They’ve been skating forever — and have been competing forever. You have to win regional, state, and world championships in order to make it to the olympics; and then even if you win all that before, if you don’t perform well at the qualifying rounds you won’t get the golden ticket to the big O.

Making it to the Olympics is hard! So my question to you is this: If you were to advise your child about following his or her dream, what would you say? Would you say that hard work and perseverance will determine your success, or would you make a “talent judgement” early on and decide whether your child was good enough to “make it” or not?

As a parent, my first inclination is to tell my son that he can do whatever he wants to do. But then, I think that he can do it…if he works harder than everyone else. Really – – I don’t believe in talent alone. I don’t. I look at these Olympic athletes and I see the sacrifice and hardship and injuries and lost childhood beneath the smiles. They worked their rear ends off, and they deserve to be there.

So what’s my point here? I respect these athletes. As a classical violinist who practiced countless hours every day and as a teacher and writer, working hard and persevering is part of my life. Sometimes I am successful at it, sometimes not. But I think when we watch the Olympics we should take a moment appreciate all the hard work and sacrifice that these athletes have gone through to get to this point.


I am so excited about my Archive Research Adventure!

I have to tell you that I am about to embark on my first archive research expedition! I can’t believe that the time is finally here, and I will admit that I am a little nervous.

Okay, a lot nervous ;-).

I thought I’d share what I have gone through so far – in preparation for the trip – in case there are any researchers out there who are going to have to go through this at some point. And really, what’s the point of researching if you don’t find something original? From what I’ve heard from others, archival research is a wonderful, difficult, and priceless experience.

I will also share some invaluable advice in my next post from veteran scholars who have so graciously answered my emails asking for advice. Thank goodness for supportive communities.

So first my personal story:

Those who have been following my blog know that I kind of got off-track last year (although in retrospect it was for the better), but last January 2013, I started my search for resources about my topic and ran into a road-block. I was told that most of the materials I wanted had been burned in a 1995 fire! This stopped me in my tracks for a while because I had this strict timetable and when I realized that everything wasn’t going to go exactly as I had planned, I shut down. I like to control my situation. I learned from this to be flexible in the dissertation process. We can’t control everything. We just can’t. (As I write this I am calculating a timeframe for completing my dissertation, so you could say that I am talking out of my A#$.)

But before the “shut-down” I contacted the ETS archives and got some basic information, which I put in a file and promptly filed away.

Fast-forward to this past Fall. I committed to the dissertation again and started working, but was feeling frustrated with my secondary sources. I like to write with my own voice and I like to use primary sources, so quoting so many secondary sources was starting to feel – – stilted – – and I knew I had to plan a trip to the archives.

So then started my renewing of the conversation with ETS. They are housed in Princeton, NJ, and let me tell you, the archivists are so nice! But I did have one issue – the archivist I spoke with last year no longer works there, so I had to track him down, find out who his replacement was, and contact that person. And thank goodness I did, because my archivist has been so fabulous. So I will introduce the first rule in archival research:

RULE #1: Be good to your archivist. They are your best friend.

I can’t tell you how much my archivist has helped me. He’s the one in charge of all the files at this particular library, and he is preparing files for me now, before I go, so I won’t have to spend time searching when I get there. He has been helpful and kind throughout countless emails, and I really appreciate him. I plan on buying him a nice dinner for sure.

I was worried about flying to New Jersey. I mean, I’ve never been there and who knows how it will be? But my archivist told me about a hotel on the campus of ETS/Princeton (no cab costs!!!!! no rentacar!!!) and I made reservations. So I am flying out on Monday night and will be there until I fly home Saturday. The flight home is crazy: Trenton NJ – – Orlando – – Miami – – Atlanta. Wow! A two hour flight packed into 12 hours.

I had to BEG my principal to let me take a couple personal days (I asked him before Christmas when everyone was in a good mood) and then the rest of the week we have furlough days, so it really worked out. I also had a crazy thing happen a few weeks ago which could have ruined my trip. In January, I got a strange letter, one I’d never received before. It was for Jury Duty! And ironically, it was for the very week I was to go to Princeton. At first, like the fire stopping me and making me shut down, I almost shut down and said, “F$#!! it” But you know, I didn’t! I actually wrote a letter and begged and emailed and called and got the jury duty postponed. AMEN.

Rule #2: It doesn’t hurt to ask. Really.

So, we get to the present. I sent my archivist some more finding aids, which are box numbers and file locations for my specific topic. This weekend I need to plan and do laundry and pack and make sub plans and buy some winter clothes and get it TOGETHER.

I wonder what I should bring? How am I to transport my files? I can only carry so much on a plane…I also need to go buy some winter clothes because I’m a Georgia girl and there’s a whole lot of snow in NJ. Plus, I have so many printed-out files. Do I bring those?

These questions will be answered in a later post – – after I’ve returned, hopefully enlightened and successful.

My next post will also include some great advice from veteran scholars who were kind enough to send me emails about their archival research experiences.

If you have ever done archival research I would LOVE your feedback.

Bees mainly sting when they are scared….

Fantastic post about the relationship between anger and fear. A must-read for anyone who has ever been angry at someone.

Law of Attraction Coach Tracy Laverty

My daughter was sharing her perspective about bees one night, and she said, “they only sting when they are scared”.  I was thinking about how that is so true in life.  People often “attack” or get prickly when they are scared.  I think of that and it helps me stay grounded (at times=-) I can sense that it is not “personal” and it often doesn’t have anything to do with me, but more to do with them….their own fears or projections.

When I am angry, I take time to feel and think–what am I afraid of?  Why am I getting triggered right now?  I will often write in my journal as a way to process and express myself before talking with the person. At times, I don’t need to have a conversation, because the journal process healed what needed healing.

When others are angry at me or around me, I…

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The Open Letter to Philip Seymour Hoffman I Wish I Sent

Must read…

Drinking to Distraction

I first saw you in the movie Happiness. Your raw-ugly-beautiful performance cut through to my heart in a way I had never experienced before. “This guy isn’t afraid of anything,” I thought. “He’s fearless.” And you did it again and again: in Magnolia, Boogie Nights, Capote, Synecdoche, Jack Goes Boating, A Late Quartet. Balls out, I would call it now, with great admiration.

More recently I saw you at one of the Happy Talks at the Rubin Museum of Art. You sat with philosopher Simon Critchley and were as real and thoughtful and imperfect as I imagined you. The way you dropped your head into your hand to fully consider whatever probing question your co-host had posed. As if you needed to remove yourself from the presence of all our eager eyes in order to touch something deep inside, to find an uncompromising truth.

At one point he asked…

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