Archive for October, 2012

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Conflicting views of Lackington’s – Publisher of Frankenstein – 3 pf 3 from Peter Balestrieri

Third in our series on Frankenstein related holdings from Peter Balestrieri.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was published in 1818 by the firm of Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones. The deal worked by Percy Shelley called for printing five hundred copies, a short run even by the standards of the day. What kind of firm was Lackington’s?

Temple of the Muses Exterior

Temple of the Muses Exterior (Wikipedia)

James Lackington was a bookseller and publisher who began a career in shoemaking but switched to bookselling to satisfy his bibliophilia and his desire to provide books to people of all economic backgrounds. This desire came out of a deeply religious nature combined with a firm belief that all lives are improved by the reading and study of books. The story is told that he once spent his last coins on a book of poetry rather than food because the former would “feed” himself and his wife longer than the latter. His famous bookstore, named “The Temple of the Muses,” was an immense building in London, so large that a coach drawn by four horses was driven round the counters at its opening. Its catalogue, in 1803, featured 800,000 titles. Lackington was an innovator, who rankled his competitors with his revolutionary ideas. He invented remaindering, buying up unsold books from other dealers and selling them cheaply. He also accepted cash only, without exceptions, published authors’ manuscripts, and bought whole libraries. While making him extremely successful, these practices placed him outside the norm of traditional publishers.

Temple of the Muses Interior

Temple of the Muses Interior (Wikipedia)

In reading biographies of Mary Shelley and books on Frankenstein, I’ve come across disparaging remarks aimed at Lackington’s.I believe these originate from accounts of the day by rivals who sought to harm Lackington’s reputation out of jealousy. Histories of English publishing by Feather and Mumby set the record straight and give Lackington his due as one of the most remarkable of booksellers and publishers.

 

James Lackington wrote two books of memoirs and both can be found in Special Collections:

Memoirs of the First Forty-five Years of the Life of James Lackington

Special Collections Springer Collection B .L141L

The Confessions of J. Lackington

Special Collections x-Collection CT788.L25 A3 1804

 

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Want to Make Historic Recipes?

handwritten recipe page from a very old book

Photo by Tom Jorgenson

Want to make historic recipes?  Or how about reading handwriting, converting measurements, recreating historic cooking implements, food photography, or writing and blogging?

300+ years of handwritten cookbooks with thousands of recipes from Chef Louis Szathmary’s culinary collection from Special Collections & University Archives are now online in DIY History, the newest transcription project from the University of Iowa Libraries.  Helpful people around the world are trying to puzzle out what the handwriting says.  But is that where it ends?  Unlike letters, diaries, or even menus, recipes are not done even what you can read what it says.  They are instructions just calling out to be tested to bring a slice of history back to life one piece of hardtack at a time.

Sound interesting?  Come to the first meeting and have a voice in determining what the group should be.

If  you can’t make the meeting but want to be in the loop, e-mail colleen-theisen @  uiowa dot edu to be added to the e-mail list.

Event poster

 

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

6:30-8PM

PS-Z, 120 N. Dubuque St.

(3 blocks north of PS1, on the lower level of the Wesley Center)

 

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Grand Army of the Republic in Iowa

G.A.R. Handkercheif with symbols

G.A.R. handkerchief from E. J. C. Bealer. Center image is the badge of the GAR with corps badges surrounding.

Today’s post comes from Jacque Roethler on Grand Army of the Republic finds in her recent processing work.

Special Collections recently acquired the papers of a law firm in Cedar Rapids, the Bealer/Grimm/Shuttleworth papers. In it were the expected files on cases, insurance, and property, but in a ledger containing E. J. C. Bealer’s 1927 expenses I came across this GAR handkerchief. Curious, I determined to find out more about the Grand Army of the Republic in Iowa.

The GAR was a fraternal order open to honorably discharged soldiers of the Union Army. The first post of the GAR was founded in Decatur Illinois in April 1866. By the end of October, an Iowa post had been organized, among the first in the nation. Though it started strong, the Iowa Department, following a national trend, lost membership in the early years, probably because the men were trying to secure a livelihood and starting (or continuing) families and certainly because they could not sort themselves out politically, especially in light of Reconstruction in the South. In January 1871 the Iowa Post was dissolved. In 1872 the national organization made an effort to re-start the Iowa program, and an Iowa Department was re-established. It remained small but the officers were determined that it not be abandoned again.

Women's Relief Corp book, 1897

Women’s Relief Corp book, 1897

The Grand Army of the Republic reached its peak in 1890, when it had a national membership of 490,000. Iowa reached its peak then, too, with 435 posts and a membership of 20,234. After this time the number of posts remained constant for years, but overall membership declined. The national GAR was finally dissolved in 1956, when its last member died.

Though at their inception the membership decided that they were not going to a political group, the GAR was one of the first advocacy groups in America. They advocated for voting rights for black veterans.  In Iowa, it was largely due to the influence of the GAR that the Soldier’s Home in Marshalltown was built after the legislature appropriated $100,000 in 1886 for the purpose.  In 1889 the legislature authorized the Soldier’s Relief Fund. In 1904, encouraged by the GAR, the legislature gave veterans preference in public employment, though by this time most of the veterans had aged out of the work force.

Program from the 56th Annual Encampment at the Iowa State Capitol

Program from the 56th Annual Encampment at the Iowa State Capitol

Monuments to the Civil War dead were also a priority for the Iowa GAR and they lobbied for state funding for monuments in Des Moines and Vicksburg.  The GAR got the General Assembly to finance a roster of every living veteran in the state of Iowa.  The GAR was so powerful that that Iowa government gave them a room in the state capitol to be used as a permanent headquarters, for which the state appropriated funds for maintenance. The Iowa GAR was instrumental in seeing that almost all of the schools in Iowa had a flag to raise every morning and the Woman’s Relief Corps (the women’s auxiliary to the GAR) had placed in every school in Iowa a pamphlet about the management and care of flags.

 The national meetings, which took place once a year, were called National Encampments. In 1922 the 56th National Encampment was held in Des Moines. Twenty thousand veterans and their allied organizations were in attendance.  The average age of attendees was around eighty. At this Encampment, Judge James W. Willet of Tama, Iowa, was elected unanimously as the Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic.

Elmer J.C. Bealer, Commander of the Iowa Department of the Grand Army of the Republic, 1918-1919

Elmer J.C. Bealer, Commander of the Iowa Department of the Grand Army of the Republic, 1918-1919

E.J.C. Bealer was elected to the Iowa Legislature in 1901 and served three terms, and he supported legislation of interest to veterans, including the Vicksburg Monument. He served as Commander of the Iowa Department of the Grand Army of the Republic from June 1918 to June 1919. He attended the National Encampment in Des Moines in 1922.  In the collection you can find reservations at the Hotel Savery, where he stayed during the Encampment. We have a campaign brochure for Willet, sent to Bealer in an envelope addressed to “Comrade E.J.C. Bealer, Past Department Commander GAR.”   And we have this wonderful GAR handkerchief seen above. The image in the center of the handkerchief is the badge of the GAR. The icons surrounding the central badge are the corps badges.

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A Miniature Menagerie

Miniature metal book with hinges and pages that turn.

Do you remember the Sesame Street song lyrics “One of these things is not like the other one of these things just doesn’t belong”?  Today’s post was inspired by the song, though I’m inclined to agree with the first part of the statement and disagree with the latter.  Yes, these things are not like the others, but they certainly belong!  They were all found in the stacks of Special Collections and University Archives.  While most of our collections are comprised of printed books, images, papers, and ephemera, there’s an occasional surprise tucked away in a box or file folder.

I’ve selected a few items that struck my fancy.  They all happen to be miniature versions of something:  dining furniture, books, paper mills, for example.  Some of the objects are considered artist’s books, some are parts of books, and some are just objects.

Miniature Dard Hunter Paper Mill

Dard Hunter:  Miscellaneous Thoughts and Reflections, text by Dard Hunter, case and books by Robert E. Massmann.  The paper used to construct the mill-shaped case and the small books came from Hunter’s handmade paper mill in Connecticut.  The case is a replica of the mill which remained in use from 1928 till 1931, and the two small books (volumes I and II) document thoughts, quotations, and paper samples from Hunter.  The books themselves are miniature artifacts that fit below the three dimensional model of the mill.    For more information on Dard Hunter visit http://www.dardhunter.com/.

x-Collection – TS1098.H8 A25 1984

 

 

Miniature dining table set - University of Iowa Special CollectionsButter Knives and Fish Forks: With Guidance From “The New Setting Your Table” by Annie Tremmel Wilcox.  This artist book is a true surprise.  The dining room set, with a perfect table setting replete with candles and flowers, is housed inside what looks like a relatively traditional book box.  Along with the dining room set, a small accordion structure includes a narrative reflecting on table-settings, traditions, and growing up.  There are also small cards which show exemplary place-set tables.

From the Szathmary Collection – N7433.4.W52

 

 

Miniature set of pots and pans made from pennies - University of Iowa Special CollectionsJudge James Willis Bollinger collected as many Lincoln related items as he could.  Lincoln was a passion of his, and though his collection focused on books and pamphlets, he also managed to collect a wide array of objects relating to Lincoln.  Included in his non-print materials are small penny sculptures.  There is one in particular that would fit right in on the dining table from above:  a tea and food service tray.  Also of interest are the miniature books with Lincoln penny head bookends.

From the James Wills Bollinger Papers – MsC0036

 

 

Miniature keychain book - University of Iowa Special Collections

And finally, since this post features miniature, I can’t leave out items from the Charlotte M. Smith collection of Miniature Books.  Many of the diminutive books in the Smith Collection are lengthy and readable works, but the ones selected for today were meant as charms and key chains.  There are several souvenir metal book-shaped key chains that house small accordion images from international cities.  Come check them all out!  The book charms with metal hinged “pages” are of particular interest as well (first image above).

From the Charlotte M. Smith Papers [Charlotte M. Smith Collection of Miniature Books] – MsC457

 

Though not featured today, we also have objects of the non-miniature variety including bagpipes, films, sculptures, and much more dispersed among our archival and collections materials.

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“Iowa Now” Feature on 1812 Exhibition

 

The War of 1812 in Iowa, then and now

Old Capitol exhibit opens Oct. 11 with free reception, lecture

By:  Rebecca Pope | 2012.10.04 | 10:47 AM
 The University of Iowa Old Capitol Museum will mark the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 with a special exhibition of historical documents, maps and artifacts from various Iowa archaeological sites.

Conflict on the Iowa Frontier: Perspectives on the War of 1812 opens Thursday, Oct. 11, with a free public reception from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in the museum. Guest lecturer Eugene Watkins will speak in the Senate Chamber of the Old Capitol Museum from 6 to 6:45 p.m. and lead a discussion about the history of Fort Madison. Watkins is Fort Madison’s site manager for Old Fort Madison. He holds a doctorate of U.S. history from the University of Toledo.

A photograph of a book with a drawing of a man on the left page and words on the right page
Black Hawk’s autobiography. Photo courtesy of UI Pentacrest Museums, book from Special Collections
 

Artifacts featured in the exhibit include Black Hawk’s autobiography, giving insight into the war from the perspective of Native Americans, and an Orderly Book for infantry men of the period, in which general and regimental orders were recorded. These objects tell the story of the war’s Mississippi River campaign and how it affected the future of the state.

Also on Oct. 11, archaeologist Jodi Magness, distinguished professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will give the UI Department of Religious Studies Adler Lecture and the UI Pentacrest Museums Directors’ Lecture at 7:30 p.m. in the Senate Chamber of the Old Capitol Museum.

In anticipation of National Archaeology Day, her topic is “Ossuaries and the Burial of Jesus and James.” The presentation is free and open to the public. Magness specializes in the archaeology of ancient Palestine in the Roman, Byzantine, and early Islamic periods.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. For more information on the UI Pentacrest Museums and Old Capitol Museum, visit www.uiowa.edu/oldcap/or call 319-335-0548. The UI Department of Religious Studies is part of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Books and documents from Special Collections are featured in this exhibition, including the Black Hawk autobiography seen in the photo. Original article can be viewed here: http://now.uiowa.edu/2012/10/war-1812-iowa-then-and-now
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Mary and Percy Shelley Letter Mentions Frankenstein Rejections – 2 of 3 from Peter Balestrieri

Handwritten text saying, "Poor Mary’s book has come back with a refusal which has put me in rather ill spirits.”

Second in our series of three blog posts from Peter Balestrieri examining our holdings relating to Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus.

On August 16, 1817, Mary began writing a letter to Marianne Hunt, Leigh Hunt’s wife. The Hunt’s and the Shelley’s were close friends, their correspondence is extensive, and many of those letters are held here in the Brewer-Leigh Hunt Collection. This particular letter, written by both Mary and Percy Shelley, sheds light on their daily lives as her novel Frankenstein faced rejections before its eventual publication and fame.

In late summer, Mary Shelley was nineteen, pregnant, and trying to get Frankenstein, published. The manuscript had been rejected by her husband’s publisher, Charles Ollier, and by Lord Byron’s publisher, John Murray. Mary had spent the summer entertaining the Shelley’s many visitors, giving charity to the poor, and editing her and Shelley’s travel journals from their 1814 trip to Europe. She was also caring for her son, William, little “Willmouse.”

Mary’s letter to Marianne is filled with family news regarding their pregnancies, need for a nurse, and the sad news of the legal decision to send Shelley’s children by his first wife to be raised by a clergyman. Mary also writes that she is sending the Hunt’s some money; they were always in need of money. Mary signs off with good wishes and encouragement, believing that things will improve for Marianne.

One can imagine Percy Shelley entering the room at some point and asking, “To whom are you writing, my queen?” When informed of the letters’ recipient, he may have said, “Let me add a few lines when you have finished.” He does, and in these few lines we see a reference to Frankenstein and the trouble they are having with its publication. Percy Shelley writes, “Poor Mary’s book has come back with a refusal which has put me in rather ill spirits.” He is referring to Ollier’s rejection of the book and he goes on to ask if the Hunt’s know of any publishers that might be interested in it. By the end of the month, the novel is accepted by Lackington’s and Frankenstein is born.

The letter can be viewed online at the University Library’s Digital Library, http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/leighhunt/id/89/rec/5 and in person (MsL S54hu) at Special Collections and University Archives in the Main Library.

For more on Frankenstein visit the National Institutes of Health traveling exhibition, “Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature” that is on display at the second floor south entrance of University Capitol Centre through Nov. 2.  http://now.uiowa.edu/2012/10/genetics-frankenstein-future