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Jillian Sparks’ Report from the SHARP Conference

What follows is one final blog post from our former Olson Graduate Assistant, Jillian Sparks, who attended the SHARP conference July 7-10, 2015 to present a poster related to her cataloging work here in Special Collections.

 

The Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP) is an international organization dedicated to book history and print culture. SHARP describes their research focus as, “the composition, mediation, reception, survival, and transformation of written communication in material forms from marks on stone to new media. Perspectives range from the individual reader to the transnational communication network” (sharpweb.org). There are over a 1,000 members from more than 40 countries who provide a truly global perspective of book history. Due to its large international community, the conference location rotates between the Western and Eastern hemispheres each year—typically North America and Europe.

I first learned about SHARP while attending the Digital Humanities Summer Institute in 2012. Adrian van der Weel, the keynote speaker and my course instructor, highly encouraged joining SHARP if we were interested in book history. I joined the same afternoon and after three summers, I was finally able to attend the annual conference this summer in Longueil/Montreal as a master’s student poster presenter. I presented my final poster from the University of Iowa’s School of Library and Information Science program titled “Regenerating the Local Catalog: An Approach for Augmenting Bibliographic Information for Early Printed Texts.” The theme this year was “The Generation and Regeneration of Books” and was hosted by the Groupe de recherches et d’études sur le livre au Québec, the University of Sherbrooke, McGill University and the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec. The conference was truly a bilingual event with presentations in both French and English. Over 350 people traveled to Québec to participate.

Scholars from all disciplines and librarians alike attend SHARP, and the conference program reflects this diversity. I attended sessions on special collections instruction, cataloging, and pivotal collectors. “Old Books and New Tricks: Regenerating the Library Visit” has been the most helpful session on special collections instruction out of all the conferences I have attended. Gale Burrow from Claremont College presented on how to turn a one-time visit into a two part lab series that focuses on primary research in the first lab and the secondary sources in the second lab. Karla Nielsen demonstrated how Book Traces, a crowd-sourced web project aimed at identifying unique copies of 19th- and early 20th-century books on circulating library shelves, was successfully carried out at Columbia University. CLIR postdoctoral fellow at Southwestern University, Charlotte Nunes, discussed the emotional connection her students experienced while transcribing Latino oral histories and the importance of capturing the students’ oral histories on their project work. The last presenter, Amanda Watson from Yale, showed how she has collaborated with special collections to integrate technology into the class visit. All four presenters illustrated creative methods of teaching that I look forward to incorporating into my professional career.

Jillian Sparks and her poster

Jillian Sparks and her poster

Because of my interest in copy specific cataloging and in relation to my own work on cataloging 16th-century books at the University of Iowa, the panels on “Pivotal Collectors” and “Early modern Women and the Book (II): case Studies in Ownership, Circulation, and Collecting” served as interesting comparisons. In the first panel, presenters discussed the familiar issues of how to catalog and organize famous personages’ personal collections. In the second panel, speakers addressed the problem of how to find someone’s books after the collection has been separated and sold. In her presentation “Finding Frances Wolfreston in Online Public Access Catalogues: How Electronic Records Can Lead Us to Early Modern Women Readers,” Sarah Lindenbaum demonstrated how Frances Wolfreston’s unique signature as noted in various catalog records enabled her to trace the dispersion of her books. The discussion surrounded the general value of provenance notes and included mention of Provenance Online Project also known as POP.

Other presentations on embroidered bindings (Amanda Pullan) and the history of dog-earing books (Ian Gadd) were equally exciting and all of the SHARP panels appealed to my love of book history. The most fulfilling aspect of the conference was SHARP’s dedication to encouraging emerging scholars. There was a specific dinner for master’s and PhD candidate presenters. The poster session and PhD candidate papers did not conflict with other sessions, thus allowing all conference attendees to engage with their research. I personally benefited from the feedback and encouragement I received during the poster session. Most importantly, I left SHARP feeling welcome and excited to be a member of the organization and enthused about book history as a discipline.

Relevant links:

Sparks, Jillian A. Regenerating the Local Catalog: An Approach for Augmenting Bibliographic Information for Early Printed Texts http://ir.uiowa.edu/slis_student_pubs/1

Accompanying digital exhibit: http://sparks.omeka.net

SHARP’s website: http://www.sharpweb.org

SHARP 2015 conference site: http://sharp2015.ca/en/home/

Book Traces: http://www.booktraces.org/

Provenance Online Project (POP): https://provenanceonlineproject.wordpress.com/

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News from Special Collections 8/28/2015

Staff Changes:

1. Saying Farewell to Olson Graduate Assistant Jillian Sparks

JillianJillian Sparks will complete her two years as Olson Graduate Assistant here in Special Collections this week. The Olson GA’s participate in the department as junior staff for twenty hours a week; working at the reference desk and answering email reference questions, teaching classes, planning events, writing about collection items for social media, and assisting with a myriad of other duties that come up in day to day life here in Special Collections. Above and beyond those duties Jillian worked on a project adding copy specific notes about types of bindings, marginalia, and provenance information to our catalog records for the earliest English language books in the collection and prepared an exhibition about her work that can still be seen in the cases outside Special Collection on the 3rd floor of the Main Library, or online here. Jillian recently completed her Masters of Library Science here at the University of Iowa along with a certificate in book studies from The Center for the Book, and is seeking employment in the field. Her contributions to this department over the past two years cannot be measured. It was an honor and a privilege to work with such a talented librarian.

Upcoming Events:

1. Special Guest Lecture, Alison Altstatt, University of Northern Iowa

Vellum leaf of a medieval music manuscript

“Re-membering the Wilton Processional: a Manuscript Lost and Found”

Friday, September 4, 2015

1:30PM-2:30PM

2032 Main Library, 125 W. Washington, Iowa City, IA

This talk concerns a notated leaf of an English medieval manuscript held in the Special Collections of the University of Iowa Libraries. Musical, textual and codicological evidence supports the identification of the leaf as a fragment of a processional from Wilton Abbey, an important center for women’s Latin learning from its tenth-century foundation to its sixteenth-century dissolution. The recovery of the University of Iowa leaf, along with more than thirty others, provides a window into the abbey’s musico-poetic tradition, its processional liturgies, and its dramatic rituals.

2. Iowa Bibliophiles First Meeting for 2015-2016, Wednesday September 9th

calligraphyThe first Iowa Bibliophiles meeting of the 2015-2016 season will feature University of Iowa Center for the Book calligraphy instructor Cheryl Jacobsen speaking about calligraphic hands featured in Medieval manuscripts held in Special Collections.

6:00PM – Stop by to view a repeat showing of the livestream video of Alison Altstatt’s September 4th talk

6:30PM – Refreshments served

7PM – Cheryl Jacobsen’s talk

Special Collections Reading Room, 3rd Floor Main Library, 125 W. Washington, Iowa City, IA

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the sponsoring department or contact person listed in advance of the event.

Recently on the Web and Social Media:

1. Olson Graduate Assistant Kelly Grogg’s IFLA Conference Report

Image of Kelly GroggAs we reported earlier this month, Kelly Grogg recently received a scholarship and attended the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) in Capetown, South Africa. She wrote a blog post, “IFLA: Putting Action into the Philosophy of Libraries.”

 

 

2. Jillian Sparks’ Last Social Media Post

Close of of the gold decoration on the spine of a bookJillian wrote a farewell Tumblr post about the History of Hydraulics collection that you can see here.  You can also view all of the posts she made for our Tumblr in her time in Special Collections here.

 

 

 

3. U. Iowa Curriculum Featuring Special Collections Materials Featured in “In the Library with the Lead Pipe” Article

Image of Tom KeeganArchives Alive!: librarian-faculty collaboration and an alternative to the five-page paper

Tom Keegan, Head of the Digital Scholarship and Publishing Studio in the UI Libraries, and former Undergraduate Services Librarian Kelly McElroy published an article about Archives Alive!, the primary source based curriculum for the Rhetoric Department that has students transcribing, analyzing, and interpreting historic documents from Special Collections in DIY History, the University of Iowa Libraries volunteer-based document transcription site. The curriculum was originally developed in partnership with a campus curriculum development project, Iowa Digital Engagement and Learning (IDEAL).

4. “Weekly Squint” On Tumblr

Several  libraries on Tumblr this week featured a “Weekly Squint” which includes a close up view of a collection item. The Huntington Library Tumblr began the “Weekly Squint” feature on Tumblr and invited other libraries and institutions to participate. Our post was a close up view of the Columbian Press in the 3rd Floor hallway.

New Acquisitions:

1. Early 20th Century Astronomy Slides

With the July 14 New Horizons flyby of Pluto, there has been a surge of interest in astronomy. A recent acquisition by the Special Collections department shows that interest in the heavens has been with us for a long time.

These slides were used by Bishop Simeon Arthur Huston (1876-1963), Bishop of the Episcopal Dioceses of Olympia, WA from 1925 to 1947. He had a life-long love of astronomy and after his retirement, he wrote a regular astronomy column in his local newspaper on Bainbridge Island, Washington. He gave frequent talks on astronomy, using these slides to illustrate his talks. There are approximately 50 slides in the collection.

These slides were generously donated by Simeon Huston’s grandchildren Matt Huston, John Huston, Jr., and Elisabeth LeLion.

2. The Gazetteer

The Map Collection’s merge with Special Collections in 2013 has resulted in a heavier focus on the history of cartography. Although Labbé didn’t advertise this work as a gazetteer, it is one of the earliest works on place names in France. Nicolas Sanson, a famous cartographer, heavily criticized the book for plagiarism; perhaps that explains why this was the only edition!

Phillipe Labbé. Pharus Galliæ antiquæ. Moulins, 1644.

News and Announcements:

1. Iowa State Fair Recipe Contest

Special Collections and the Old Capitol Museum co-sponsored a cooking contest at the Iowa State Fair.

The following is a quote from the results page from the Iowa State Fair Website:

Contestants in the Szathmary Collection of Historic Recipes competition, judged Tuesday at the 2015 Iowa State Fair, were part cook, part historian and part detective. Entrants were challenged to interpret a recipe from 1874, maintaining the original recipe’s integrity, while filling in the gaps and adapting to modern measurements, equipment and ingredients

Celeste F. Bremer of Urbandale won first place. Natalie Ridgway of Johnston earned second place and Lindsey Pepper of Boone claimed third place.

The recipe for Sponge Pudding from from Emily Netuzed’s handwritten cookbook from 1874 reads as follows:

Handwritten Recipe image

See this item, MsC 533, EN32,  in the Iowa Digital Library: http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/cdm/ref/collection/cookbooks/id/12876

“Put two eggs into the scale, then take their weight in flour, butter and lump sugar; first beat the butter in to a cream, powder the sugar and mix with it, beat in the eggs and lastly the flour, butter some little moulds and take ½ an hour in rather a quick oven.”

The Iowa State Fair Food Department is the largest of any state fair in the country. There are 228 divisions, 850 classes and over 10,600 entries at this year’s Fair. Food Department judging is held in the Elwell Family Food Center sponsored by Wells Blue Bunny.

The judges for the contest were members of the “Historic Foodies” group in Iowa City.

Congratulations to all the winners!

2. A Final Reminder to Sign Up for Fall Semester Class Sessions or Group Visits

Students looking at materials in a Special Collections classSpecial Collections and University Archives already has 40 professors scheduling classes with us this fall. You should bring your students too! We have a staff of librarians with expertise in areas ranging from medieval manuscripts to science fiction, all available to help design curricula to complement your learning objectives. Submit your request here to learn more: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/forms/speccoll_class/

 

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A Farewell Blog from Emily, our High School Intern

This week I’m finishing up my summer internship at Special Collections. I’ve had so much fun here this past month and no two days have been exactly the same. I’ve done all sorts of things, from helping with reference questions and pulling materials, to listening to Oral History interviews and exploring the collections. One of my favorite things I had the opportunity to do was create a series of Tumblr posts featuring postcards from the World’s Fair Collection. I even got to create a display for the display case in the reading room with the postcards from my posts.

Another thing that I really enjoyed was getting to meet with all the people in the department individually. Through these meetings I learned so much about what each person does and how they got here. I loved hearing everyone’s stories and I have a much greater appreciation for all the work everyone does here.

I also had the opportunity to pull items for the upcoming comics program for the Iowa City Public Library summer reading program. The nerd in me loved going through the boxes of old comics to help chose what to show at the event, (I especially loved the Dazzler comics). Everyone here must have really strong arm muscles though, because some of those boxes are very heavy.

This internship has given me a greater appreciation of all the work that goes on behind the scenes, that most people never see, and all the amazing people that work here. I’m so thankful to have had this opportunity and I’m going to miss coming in every morning. Have a wonderful summer everyone.

-Emily

We certainly enjoyed having Emily with us this summer, and we miss her already!  If you’d like to check out Emily’s wonderful tumblr series, follow this link!

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News from Special Collections 8/21/2015

News and Announcements:

 

1. Plat Books

Photo of a stack of plat booksThe Map Collection sent out a call to the Auditors of Iowa Counties for current plat books to update our collection. So far, over 40 counties (of 99) have donated current and back issues of plat books for our collection!  Thanks Iowa!

Plat books are atlases, drawn to scale, that show property ownership and land divisions.

 

2. Special Guest Lecture, Alison Altstatt, University of Northern Iowa

“Re-membering the Wilton Processional: a Manuscript Lost and Found”

Vellum leaf of a medieval music manuscript

September 4, 2015

1:30PM

Special Collections Reading Room, 3rd Floor Main Library, 125 W. Washington, Iowa City, IA

This talk concerns a notated leaf of an English medieval manuscript held in the Special Collections of the University of Iowa Libraries. Musical, textual and codicological evidence supports the identification of the leaf as a fragment of a processional from Wilton Abbey, an important center for women’s Latin learning from its tenth-century foundation to its sixteenth-century dissolution. The recovery of the University of Iowa leaf, along with more than thirty others, provides a window into the abbey’s musico-poetic tradition, its processional liturgies, and its dramatic rituals.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the sponsoring department or contact person listed in advance of the event.

3. World Con

U.I. Libraries Table display in the dealer's room at the World Con Science Fiction ConventionThe World Science Fiction Convention is going on this week in Spokane, Washington and Special Collections has a table in the dealer’s room to talk to the fans about our Hevelin Collection fanzine digitization project.

Want to stay up to date on our project digitizing 1930s-1950s fanzines?  Follow the Hevelin Collection Tumblr or read our FAQ page.

 

4. State Fair Continues

Image of the mobile museum and the world war 2 exhibitOver 5,000 people have already checked out the Over Here From Over There: Iowans in World War II exhibit in the Mobile Museum at the State Fair as of Wednesday. The fair continues through Sunday, August 23rd so check out the exhibition if you head out to the fair this weekend.


 

Recently on the Web and Social Media:

 

1. Man From U.N.C.L.E. Posts Recap

Memorabilia from the Man From U.N.C.L.E. tv showLast week to coincide with the release of the Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie, we featured a post here on our blog with an overview of our related collections and some information about the history of the show and also a related post on our Tumblr about memorabilia in the collections.

 

 

2. An Exquisitely Illustrated Lutheran Theological Text Was Featured on Tumblr

Image of Magnum Mysterium a fold out image from a 17th century text

This theological text was written by Jacob Boehme (Jakob Böhme), a Lutheran theologian. The majority of his writings concern the nature of sin, evil, and redemption. These themes can be seen in some of the detailed images.

xBV5080 B5 1682

View the post with many more illustrations here, or stop by the reading room on the 3rd floor to take a look!

 

Final Reminders Before Fall Semester:

 

Students looking at materials in a Special Collections class

Reminder to Sign Up Early for Class Sessions

So far this fall, we have 25 faculty members working with us to bring their classes into special collections.

You can too! Sign up using our form: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/forms/speccoll_class/

 

Image of a clockReminder That Evening Hours Change Next Week

Our new hours are:

Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays: 8:30 AM – 5 PM

Tuesdays: 8:30 AM – 7 PM

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Return of the Return of the Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Promotional Photos from Man From U.N.C.L.E.

N. Felton Papers, MsC 265

In September of 1964, a new series premiered on American television. It was a spy series influenced by Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels and the films that began with 1962’s, Dr. No. I was eleven years old at the time and couldn’t wait to see it. America had caught spy fever and television and Hollywood were feeding demand. The show was called, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and it was a major hit, the source for what is widely recognized as the first real media fandom, two years before the debut of Star Trek and Trekkies. This fandom grew and sustained itself from the 60’s through to the present, rewarded with a new film interpretation that seeks to cash in on both Boomer nostalgia and the current fascination with hyper-lethal, shadow agent heroes.

IMG_3197

N. Felton Papers, MsC 265

We are fortunate to hold the papers of the executive producer and co-creator of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Norman Felton, in the University of Iowa Library’s Special Collections http://aspace.lib.uiowa.edu/repositories/2/resources/271. As a kid, I ran around the house with my U.N.C.L.E. gun and my U.N.C.L.E. communicator and glued myself to the screen when the show aired. Not content to be mere consumers, many teens began newsletters and fan clubs. Teenage girls were an enormous share of the show’s audience and were particularly smitten with the show’s English actor, David McCallum. He played agent Illya Kuryakin, a cool, cerebral opposite to his partner Napoleon Solo’s suave man-of-action, played by American actor Robert Vaughn (The Magnificent Seven, The Young Philadelphians). Vaughn’s character was the show’s ladies’ man but it was McCallum that pulled in record-breaking fan mail, more than Clark Gable at his most popular.

Ad describing 100,000 card carrying fans in the U.K.

Ad describing 100,000 card carrying fans in the U.K. Norman Felton Papers, MsC 265


By 1966, the show was a huge success and the stars of the series were on a promotional tour. They travelled to New York to appear at Macy’s department store. They were to drive their limo straight into a freight elevator and go up to meet the fans, but it was not to be. 15,000 teenage girls showed up and quickly became unmanageable. It was decided to cancel the appearance. When they learned of the cancellation, the girls rioted, doing extensive damage to Macy’s with a few injuries as well. The police influenced Vaughn and McCallum to return immediately to the West Coast. McCallum later vowed to never appear at an American promotion again, fearing that fans or he himself would be injured. This devotion didn’t end when the series was finished in 1968. It expanded into more clubs, newsletters, conventions, and fan art and fan fiction. One of those fans was Lynda Mendoza and we are privileged to have her fine collection of David McCallum fan materials http://aspace.lib.uiowa.edu/repositories/2/resources/778.

With the new film, U.N.C.L.E. returns to center stage in pop culture. I‘m currently binge-watching the first season of the series on DVD, enjoying it and watching with a more critical eye than I did fifty years ago. The show alternates between a self-reflexive campiness and a realism that makes it palatable to a contemporary audience. Interestingly, in light of the huge McCallum fandom, the Kuryakin character makes only intermittent appearances, sometimes not at all. Perhaps this peekaboo added to the hunger teens felt for McCallum. He was often referred to as “the blond Beatle” because of his hair. He is still acting, in the hit series, NCIS, as is Robert Vaughn, seen recently on Law and Order: Special Victim’s Unit.

Among the fan-related and series-related material in the two collections are letters from Felton to and from Ian Fleming regarding the series and a letter from Felton explaining that he sent his papers, including scripts, correspondence, photos, business records, advertising, etc. to the University of Iowa so that fans would leave him alone and could come to a central location to see the treasure. In the Mendoza collection, there are card and board games, fan t-shirts, convention materials, fan correspondence, newsletters, and a wealth of merchandise and memorabilia.

Want to get started exploring Man From U.N.C.L.E related collections in the University of Iowa Special Collections?

Start here:

1. Norman Felton Papers, MsC 265

Scripts, photos, memorabilia, and documentation relating to the making of the Man From U.N.C.L.E, its reception, and its fan communities from the series’ executive producer Norman Felton.

2. Lynda Mendoza Collection of David McCallum Memorabilia, MsC 895

Collection of materials related to the actor David McCallum, assembled by the president of his official fan club.

3. Laura Leach Collection of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Fanzines, MsC 910

 

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News from Special Collections 8/14/2015

News:

1. New Hours:

Responding to library use patterns, we will be shifting our evening hours when the fall semester begins. On August 25th, we will be open until 7 PM on Tuesdays and we will no longer open on Thursday nights.

Image of a clockOur new hours are:

Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays: 8:30 AM – 5 PM

Tuesdays: 8:30 AM – 7 PM

 

 

2. Request Fall Class Sessions Now

Image of a class using Special Collections materials

Classes are beginning to schedule their sessions at Special Collections for the fall.

To get your desired date and time, sign up soon using our request form.

 

 

 

3.  Save the Date:  First Iowa Bibliophiles Talk of the 2015-2016 Season  
6 pm on September 9, 2015, with refreshments at 5:30PM, just before the speaker.  More details will follow soon.

 

4. New Collection Guide Search Engine


ArchivesSpace Logo5Our collection guides may suddenly look a bit different that they did before. We officially have transitioned behind-the-scenes from an Archon-based interface to using ArchivesSpace to host our finding aids. ArchivesSpace is a new open source archives information management application for managing and providing web access to archives, manuscripts, and digital objects. The University of Iowa is one institution among a team of beta testers for this product.

Feel free to contact members of our staff if you need help navigating the program or if you have any other related questions.

 

5. Mobile Museum Visits the Iowa State Fair August 13-23

The University of Iowa’s Mobile Museum will be at the State Fair all week.

Over Here From Over There: Iowans in World War II tells the story of Iowans during World War II. Nurses, Red Cross workers, and soldiers, as well as those who contributed to the war effort on the home front, are represented through letters, diaries, photographs, and artifacts from collections housed in the Iowa Women’s Archives and Special Collections. One portion of the exhibition focuses on the wartime correspondence of Lloyd and Laura Davis, a Cedar Rapids couple who married in 1942. The Davises spent the first years of their marriage apart when Lloyd was drafted into the Army. He eventually served in both North Africa and Europe while Laura Davis, a social worker, spent the war years in Cedar Rapids helping to set up daycare centers for the children of working mothers.

The Mobile Museum can visit your community. Follow this link to submit your request.

6. Big Ten Network Commercial

Greg Prickman filming a commercialThe Big Ten Network stopped by yesterday for a shoot for a commercial for the University of Iowa Center for the Book that will feature Special Collections materials and Greg Prickman, Head of Special Collections.  Watch for the commercial this fall during football games on the Big Ten Network!

 

 

Recently on the Web and Social Media:

1. Digitization

Image of librarian Laura Hampton digitizing a fanzineThe Hevelin Collection Tumblr featured a post showing librarian Laura Hampton conduct the behind-the-scenes work to digitize the 1930s-1950s science fiction fanzines from the James L. “Rusty” Hevelin Science Fiction Collection.

See the post here.

 

 

2. Star Charts

Image of a star chart from 1548The UI Map Collection Tumblr recently featured our stunning 1548 copy of Alessandro Piccolomini’s astronomical text, which is a continual favorite in classes and in the reading room for its impressive star charts.  See the post here.

De la sfera del mondo; libri qvattro in lingva toscana … De le stelle fisse; libro vno con le sve figvre e con le sve tauole … Venetia [N. de Bascarini] 1548.

 

New Acquisitions:

1.  University of Iowa Nursing Scrapbook c. 1913-1917

From the opening page with a handwritten poem “What Makes a Good Nurse,” to the day-to-day ephemeral documentation of life at the hospital, such as baby onesies and memos, dance cards and graduation programs, this scrapbook documents life as a nursing student from 1913 to 1917 here at the University of Iowa. It is an incredible addition to the Iowa Women’s Archives.

2. Sculptural Book Arts Piece from Daniel Essig

Image of the artiwork titled "sentinella" with a wooden boat filled with metal type, a wooden bird, and a small book with a coptic bindingResponding to requests from multiple University of Iowa professors for a teaching example of sculptural books arts as well as for a contemporary example of work from the book artist Daniel Essig, we put the two together and acquired Sentinella by Daniel Essig, a sculpture made of Italian Olive, mahogany, milk paint, printers type, mica, thorns, as well as Ethiopian and Coptic bindings.

You can see a video of its arrival and box opening below.

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News From Special Collections 8/7/2015

Summer 2015 New Staff and Staff Changes:

OBnINunsAmy Hildreth Chen is the new Special Collections Librarian in charge of the Instruction Program. Previously, she was a 2013-2015 Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Postdoctoral Fellow in the Division of Special Collections at the University of Alabama, where she oversaw instruction, exhibitions, and social media. In 2013, she received her Ph.D. in English from Emory University with a dissertation on the acquisition of literary collections. She also is an alumna of Iowa, as she graduated from UI in 2006 with a BA in Political Science and honors in English.

 

11222226_627153448065_8824884415556771774_nLaura Hampton recently joined the department as a Digital Project Librarian working on digitizing 1930s-1950s fanzines from the James L. “Rusty” Hevelin Science Fiction Collection. In May 2015, she received her MLIS from the UI School of Library and Information Science and Center for the Book. During her time at Iowa, she worked as a graduate assistant in Special Collections, and as a Reference Assistant at the Hardin Library of Health Sciences. Previously, she earned her undergraduate degree from New College of Florida in Sarasota, Florida where she graduated with a BA in literature.

 

John-FifieldJohn Fifield is the new 2015-2017 Robert A. and Ruth Bywater Olson Graduate Assistant.  He is a student in the School of Library and Information Science and the Center for the Book and he holds a Bachelor of Music in Horn Performance from Oklahoma State University. John is currently conducting bibliographic research at a convent’s library at the Convento de la Recoleta in Arequipa, Peru and will officially join the department in mid-August.  His research interests include the Spanish colonial book trade as well as food culture.

 

 

Recently on the Web and Social Media:

1. If Books Could Talk

The third video in the series If Books Could Talk is now live.  If Books Could Talk is a partnership between UI Libraries’ Special Collections and Music Library with History Corps, a public digital history project from the UI Department of History.  The series investigates what can be learned by looking closely at medieval manuscripts.  Subscribe to the UI Special Collections’ Staxpeditions channel on YouTube with any GMail or Google ID to get notifications whenever a new video is posted.  Historian Heather Wacha posts a complementary essay for each episode which can be found on the History Corps website.

 

2. Library Journal Article, “University of Iowa Libraries Begin to Digitize Decades of Fanzines.”

Library Journal recently had a feature article about the University of Iowa Libraries’ initiative to digitize 1930s-1950s science fiction fanzines in the James L. “Rusty” Hevelin Science Fiction Collection.  After the digitization, the scans will be open to a small group of fans to log in and help crowdsource metadata in an unprecedented effort to harvest the knowledge of the fan community and make available information about these fan-made publications. Read it here.

3.  Daily Iowan Coverage

Last week The Daily Iowan covered two events that Special Collections partnered to create, an event introducing teens to 1960s-1980s comic books as a partnership with the Iowa City Public Library, and ongoing efforts to recreate historic recipes from the Historic Foodies, a community group that is a partnership with the Old Capitol Museum. Read about the comic book event.  Read about Historic Foodies.

4. Vine Channel

This summer the Special Collections team has been testing the social media site Vine which is a site dedicated to very short videos that are less than six seconds long. You can see in the section below a short looping video of our librarian Margaret Gamm opening a new acquisition.  The videos may be seen on our Vine channel,  or shared to our Twitter  or Tumblr.

 

New Acquisitions:

1. Fluxus maps

“Hi Red Center,” 1965, was edited by Shigeko Kubota, designed and produced by George Maciunas, and maps the activities of the “Hi Red Center” avant-garde art collective conceptually onto the Tokyo landscape where the activities took place.  The back of the map has documentary photographs of events and happenings mapped on the other side that took place between 1963-1964.

The second map, “Fluxus Island in Decollage Ocean” is from Nam June Paik from 1963.

The two items join our extensive Fluxus holdings much of which can be found in the Fluxus West Collection, MsC 763.

 

Nam Jun Paik's Map, Fluxus Island, 1963.

Nam June Paik’s Map, Fluxus Island, 1963.

Shigeko Kubota's Map, "Hi Red Center" 1965.

Shigeko Kubota’s Map, “Hi Red Center,” 1965.



 

 

 

 

 

2. 1499 Codex with a Unique Binding

This book from 1499 is a manual for confessors that still has its first binding, a “wallet” style binding.  Meant to be used and carried around, these everyday bindings do not survive in great numbers.

The transition from the manuscript tradition to the earliest printed books is one of our most frequent topics that we teach in the classroom, across the disciplines on campus, for visiting classes from other colleges and universities, and for community groups.

Citation: Baptista de (Trovamala). Summa casuum conscientiae quae Baptistiniana nuncupaor (second version, known as Rosella casuum). Add. Sixtus IV: Bulla “Etsi dominici gregis” 30 December 1479. Rubricae iuris civili et canonici. Venice: Paganinus de Paganinis, 21 December 1499.

 

Congratulations:

me_2Kelly Grogg, Special Collections’ Olson Graduate Assistant was awarded the Rovelstad Scholarship in International Librarianship, which will fully fund her travel, housing, and registration to attend the World Library and Information Congress hosted by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) taking place in Cape Town, South Africa.  This scholarship is intended to encourage students who have an interest in international library work and enable them to participate in IFLA early in their careers.

 

speccollSelfie1-thumb-500x333-9148Margaret Gamm, Special Collections Acquisitions and Collections Management Librarian was honored as a “Bright Young Librarian” by Fine Books and Collections Magazine.  See the article here. 

 

 

 

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Science Fiction Fans Raise $1,955 To Support Hevelin Collection Digitization

Every year at the ICON Science Fiction convention in Cedar Rapids the organizers collect fan created artwork, crafts, and donated memorabilia which are auctioned off to support charities and projects.  Last fall, the chosen project was The University of Iowa Libraries’ initiative to digitize the James L. “Rusty” Hevelin Science Fiction collection, an especially meaningful choice to the community, resulting in an outpouring of donations and fast-paced bidding wars.

Rusty Hevelin was a science fiction fan, pulp collector, fanzine creator, huckster (a dealer at conventions), and voracious reader for most of his 89 years. He was also involved with the Iowa Science Fiction conventions ICON and Demicon from the time of their founding.  After his death in 2011, his collections came to the University of Iowa Special Collections where a recent unprecedented initiative to digitize around 10,000 of the earliest fanzines from roughly 1930s-1950s has begun.

The University of Iowa Libraries’ Community is deeply grateful for the generosity of the science fiction community and for their support.

The next ICON science fiction and fantasy convention will be at the Cedar Rapids Doubletree on October 16-18, 2015.  Details here.

Special Collections staff with an oversized check

 

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The Individuals in History

I cannot begin to tell you how I got started working with the Sterns Family Papers.  But I can tell you that before opening those three boxes, I had a below-average interest in the civil war.  Having gone through the American public school system, I learned about the civil war at least once every school year until about the 11th grade.  It was as if each teacher was afraid that somehow, that lesson had been skipped the previous year.  While there was certainly some more information added to the lesson each year (like that dark time when we learned it was really all about the economy), the lessons surrounding the civil war largely stayed the same.  North vs. South, freedom vs. slavery, brother vs. brother.

Enter, Thomas Rescum Sterns: a real, live, Civil War soldier who fought for the Union.  Sure, he’s no Abraham Lincoln, but he was a citizen of the United States with a farm, a family, and a job, teaching the third grade in Wisconsin.  Thomas wrote letters to his wife, Lavinia Sterns, during his time as a soldier, and these are being preserved in our civil war letter collection.  When I stumbled across these letters, I became absorbed by them.  I couldn’t stop reading.  Here were letters written by someone who was experiencing the events, firsthand, that I had only read about in textbooks.  It was like watching a movie, or reading a novel about the civil war, except it was real, interesting, heart wrenching, and hilarious.

“I take the pleasure of writing a few lines to you…” is how Thomas Rescum Sterns started his lengthy series of correspondence to his wife.  Thomas wrote about the sickness he observed, and later experienced, in the camp at which he was stationed.  He wrote about the progress of the war, and how, due to his location, Lavinia probably knew more about it than he did.  But most importantly, he wrote about hardtack: that stale bit of cracker they were all subsisting on, and Thomas took it in stride, but didn’t hesitate to crack a few jokes about the civil war staple.

rescum blog“Oh! yes a few words about our fare. As I told you in my other letter our bread is principally crackers. A day or two ago Dolph had been to dinner eating crackers of course. We found one that was marked 1801 and another the date being still earlier. It being made in Nazareth B.C. 36. You may judge whether they are old and hard or not. You need not be afraid of my getting killed by the enemy’s bullets for this reason. Just before I go into battle, if such may be the case, I shall fill myself as full as possible with these crackers which of course are hard and then I shall oil my belly and of course if the bullets strike me then glance as though they had struck an ironclad gunboat” (Nov. 12, 1862).

 

So why should we care what Thomas Rescum Sterns thinks?  Sure, his thoughts on hardtack may not be the most historically significant, but those few lines prove that Thomas Rescum Sterns wasn’t just another statistic.  He was a real person, with real thoughts, and a very real sense of humor.

And I suppose that’s how I fell in love with this collection.  Thomas Rescum Sterns reminded me that history is about the individual.  The ability to personalize history is such an incredible opportunity provided by our collections, and it has truly reignited my interest in our past.

So if you feel like you’re in a historical rut, check out this collection, and more on the Iowa Digital Library’s website.

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A display in the reading room about the life of Thomas Rescum Sterns

And if you’d like to see more about Thomas Rescum Sterns, check out our Tumblr series, or this great article written by a former head of Special Collections and University Archives.

 

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Margaret Gamm Featured as “Bright Young Librarian” by Fine Books & Collections Magazine

speccollSelfie1-thumb-500x333-9148Margaret Gamm, Special Collections Acquisitions and Collections Management Librarian, was featured as a “Bright Young Librarian” by Fine Books and Collections Magazine.  Please join us in congratulating her on this recognition from the wider community.  You can read the feature here.

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