About Author: Colleen Theisen

Website
http://www.twitter.com/libralthinking
Description
Outreach and Instruction Librarian. Lover of coffee, as well as 19th century photography, painting, tourism and print.

Posts by Colleen Theisen

2

Spring Break Class Solving Research Mysteries

Today a team of librarians, archivists, and museum professionals from around campus including University Archivist David McCartney again begin teaching a week long Spring Break class, “The Continuing Role of Real Collections.” The students have been researching mystery items as part of the class and often come up with very surprising revelations!  What follows is a post from a student from last year’s class, Lindsay Schroeder, and the surprising story she unearthed:

The Mystery Portait

The Mystery Portrait

During spring break of 2013 I took Topics in Museum Studies:The Continuing Role of Real Collections, taught by David McCartney with many prominent guest speakers within the museum and library fields. We were given a project to research artifacts within the University of Iowa that had little to no information connected to them so little is known about what they are. I chose a large painted portrait of a man with a wood, ornate frame and held only one clue, the artist’s signature. This mysterious artifact was found in the University of Iowa’s Museum of Natural History’s attic storage cabinet, hidden between large animal hides this spring.

The artist’s name was Marie Koupal, dated 1882. I researched her name and found an article within the Daily Iowan, dating November 19, 1920. It was about a man named Dr. Mark W. Ranney and his cherished book collection that stood in the Ranney Memorial Library at the University. The article concluded with a major clue, “Besides the books there are about twenty pictures on the walls that belong in the collection. Most of these are portraits…A portrait of Dr. Ranney stands on an easel in one corner of the room. This was done in 1882 by Marie Koupal and is framed in a fine hand made frame of several kinds of wood” (Daily Iowan). This was the same portrait, of Dr. Mark W. Ranney. This object’s original purpose had to be a memorial piece done by Koupal, because on January 13, 1882, Dr. Ranney died of acute pneumonia.

Special Collections has information in their collection guide pertaining to the Dr. Mark Ranney papers, with an additional link to a biographical report written by Margaret Schindler Bryant, in Books at Iowa, Issue 30, April 1979, about Dr. Ranney. This report gave me a lot of information regarding Dr. Ranney and his passion for collecting rare books along with other artifacts. Bryant’s report gave great insight to who this man was and why his portrait was originally located in the library during the 1920s, commemorated on an easel. Dr. Ranney’s wife bequeathed his entire collection to the University of Iowa after her death on July 18, 1907. She left a trust that created the “Mark Ranney Memorial Fund”. This established the Mark Ranney Memorial Library that was located in room 305, Schaeffer Hall.

The day before my report and presentation was due, I was searching the Iowa Digital Library within the time frame of 1920-1940. After endless searching for more concrete information, I came across the ultimate completion of this project, a photograph from the digital database of the Mark Ranney Memorial Library with the portrait of Dr. Ranney on the easel in the 1930s. It was truly amazing and reminded me of why I am in this field of work.

Photograph of Ranney Memorial Library with the portrait visible in the room

Ranney Memorial Library, Schaeffer Hall, University of Iowa, between 1902 and 1907.

 

The Mystery Portait

Portrait identified as Mr. Ranney

Visit this photograph here

Many thanks to Lindsay Schroeder for identifying this important portrait so it could be reunited with the Ranney Collections in Special Collections!

 

 

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The Boy Scouts: A Cultural History through Handbooks

What follows is a guest post from one of our student workers, Shawn Conley, an Eagle Scout and Boy Scout memorabilia collector.

The classic image of the Boy Scout from Lord Baden-Powell's 1910 "Scouting for Boys".

The classic image of the Boy Scout from Lord Baden-Powell’s handbook “Scouting for Boys” (1910).

Since its founding more than a century ago, the Boy Scouts of America has striven to turn young men into well-rounded individuals and citizens of our society. Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the original Boy Scouts in England, expressed the need for proper handbooks for the young scouts to use as a way of learning and becoming familiar with skills they would find useful. From how to escort a lady down the sidewalk to how to splint a broken leg, the Boy Scout handbook purveyed basic information and skills in handicrafts, first aid, castrametation, and moral values.

"Respect to Womanhood" (1945 Handbook).

“Respect to Womanhood” (“Boy Scout Handbook”, 1945).

First Aid is a major topic covered in every handbook. ("Boy Scout Handbook", 1965).

First Aid is a major topic covered in every handbook. (“Boy Scout Handbook”, 1965).

If one wanted to research the changing American culture from the early 20th century to the modern day, the handbooks of the Boy Scouts are a wonderful resource in deducing what the founders of the Scouting movement thought worthwhile for Scouts to know in turning them into productive citizens. Culture of the time-period is engrained into these handbooks. For example, during the Second World War when material rationing restricted what average Americans could purchase, the Boy Scouts produced uniforms of a less expensive, tan cotton canvas. These canvas uniforms are shown in the handbooks and how to properly sew on badges and insignia.

Upon examining Boy Scout handbooks of an earlier time, one might notice that very few are in excellent condition. These books were meant to be used, and used they were. From the author’s own perspective, his handbook was in tatters by the end of his Scouting career.

Why is the Boy Scout handbook so important? The handbook was, and still remains to be, the Scout’s greatest point of informational reference. Forgot how to tie a Clove Hitch? Consult your handbook. Can’t recall how many leaves a sprig of Poison Ivy has? The handbook knows! From how to properly swing an axe to properly cooking for your Patrol or Troop, the handbook strives to give Scouts the information they need to carry out skills necessary for being a good Scout. This aspect is as true now as it was 103 years ago.

"Scouting for Boys" by Lieut.-Gen. Sir R. Baden-Powell, K.C.B. (1910)

“Scouting for Boys” by Lieut.-Gen. Sir R. Baden-Powell, K.C.B. (1910)

"Handbook for Boys" (1945).

“Boy Scout Handbook” (1945).

Perhaps more importantly, the handbook was a moral compass. Some sections of the handbook are geared specifically towards showing Scouts how they can be a positive influence on their communities. Some early examples of how Scouts influenced their communities was promoting and selling war bonds during the Great War and the Second World War, and conducting metal drives by going door to door and asking people for any scrap metal that could be melted down for the war effort. In the 21st century, helping the community can be something as simple as a food drive, which many Boy Scout troops across Iowa conduct every year. Therefore, the handbook was not only a reference for physical skill building, but also mental and moral skill building.

"What is a Boy Scout?" ("Boy Scout Handbook", 1945).

“What is a Boy Scout?” (“Boy Scout Handbook”, 1945).

The Special Collections department has a very nice Scouting collection, much of it about Scouting in Iowa. The collection also has a few early handbooks from both the Boy Scouts

"An Easily-Made Hut" ("Scouting for Boys", 1910).

“An Easily-Made Hut” (“Scouting for Boys”, 1910).

and Cub Scouts (All photos in this post were derived from the handbooks in Special Collections). Stop on by and have a look. The author guarantees that in reading just a few pages, you’ll learn something totally new. Perhaps you can read up on how to properly escort a lady down the sidewalk (the man/Scout always walks on the woman’s side facing the street), or perhaps you can familiarize yourself with how to splint a broken leg or cook pies in a Dutch oven.

The handbooks of the Boy Scouts of America are truly a wonderful reference to anyone wanting to learn how to “Be Prepared” and to “Do a Good Turn Daily”.

 

- Shawn R. Conley

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Sign Up Now to Attend “Documenting Conscience: Preserving the Stories of Iowa Civil Rights Workers”

Meridian, Mississippi; 1964. From Papers of Patti Miller, Drake University Archives.

Meridian, Mississippi; 1964. From Papers of Patti Miller, Drake University Archives.

In 1964, a significant turning point in the U.S. Civil Rights movement occurred in what became known as the Freedom Summer. With the 50th anniversary of that momentous time approaching, the UI Alumni Association (UIAA) has organized a public discussion about those events and current work to safeguard the memory of Iowans who participated in the historic effort to challenge discrimination.

David McCartney, University of Iowa archivist and member of the Historical Iowa Civil Rights Network, will host “Documenting Conscience: Preserving the Stories of Iowa Civil Rights Workers.” He’ll explain how hundreds of volunteers from across the country traveled to Mississippi to help register African-Americans to vote, and how violence, including four murders and daily beatings, haunted them as they attempted to deliver voter registration materials, hold informational meetings, and mobilize support.

Part of the UIAA’s ongoing Lifelong Learning series, the event takes place on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 6:30 p.m. at Melrose Meadows, 350 Dublin Drive, Iowa City. This event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served. To register by the Oct. 16 deadline or to learn more, visit the Lifelong Learning website.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to attend this reading, contact Whit France-Kelly in advance at 319-335-2311 or whit-france-kelly@uiowa.edu. The event is co-sponsored by Melrose Meadows.

Register by Wednesday, October 16th!

 

View the original post from Iowa Now.

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New from the International Dada Archives

Three major new acquisitions from Dada’s transitional period of 1919-1920 document that movement’s spread beyond its World War I origins in neutral Switzerland to the key cultural centers of Europe during the early postwar era.

391_no09_001-1

Francis Picabia was one of the chief agents for the propagation of the Dada movement, and his  periodical 391  was a key vehicle for spreading Dada beyond its origins in Zurich. Picabia published the first four numbers in Barcelona, then took 391 with him to New York, Zurich, and finally Paris. Special Collections owns ten of the nineteen issues, representing all four cities. Our latest  acquisition  is Number 9 (November 1919), the first issue to be published in Paris (following the single Zurich number), just as Tristan Tzara, Dada’s self-proclaimed leader, was preparing to move to the French capital. With a cover featuring one of Picabia’s famous machine drawings, and with texts by Tzara, Picabia, and future Parisian Dadaist Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes, this issue anticipates the founding of the Paris Dada movement.

Published shortly after the author DS_IMG_1725 had established himself in Paris, Cinéma calendrier du coeur abstrait; Maisons (1920) completes our collection of Tzara’s three books of poetry in the series “Collection Dada.” The first two were published in Zurich, and this third collection marks the full fruition of Dada in Paris. Illustrated with nineteen original woodcuts by Jean Arp, this masterpiece of Dada book art is signed by the author and the artist.

DieSchammade_003.tif

Die Schammade (also known as Dadameter) is the seminal publication of the short-lived branch of the Dada movement in Cologne, Germany. Edited in early 1920 by Max Ernst and Johannes Baargeld and printed on multicolored paper with magnificent woodcuts and drawings by Ernst, Arp, and others, Die Schammade typifies the international nature Dada, and includes texts in German and French, including some of the most important Dada writings of Arp, Ernst, and Baargeld.

tumblr_mt2o0qHRoS1rqo4zeo1_500In addition, we recently acquired the one issue of the Dada publication 291 not previously in the collection, making a complete set.

All four items will be scanned for the Digital Library of Dada.

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5

Identifying our 4mm Miniature Book

tiny book perched on a fingertip

Microminiature Bible

The University of Iowa Special Collections and University Archives is home to the Charlotte Smith Collection of miniature books with more than 4,000 tiny tomes.  Most perplexing has been this microscopic Bible that remained unidentified, likely because we lacked the tools to adequately magnify the page with the publisher’s information.  Highlighting this tiny book yesterday on our social media pages brought it to the attention of our conservator, Giselle Simon, who suggested that we try the microscope that recently arrived in the conservation lab.

Handling it safely proved to be no easy task!  With some extra sets of hands we were able to read the name of the publisher – Toppan Printing Co.  (You can see the damage on this page from earlier attempts to read it).

Following the trail we were able to identify the item as being a set of two books sold at the 1965 World’s Fair in New York.  In fact, the larger miniature book in the set was already in the collection, unassociated with the ultra microminiature that could not be read.

Now the two have been reunited and they will be cataloged together.

Citation as included in Anne C. Bromer’s excellent reference book, Miniature Books: 4,000 Years of Tiny Treasures from 2007.

Holy Bible, Tokyo: Toppan Printing Company, 1964.  4x4mm.  Published to coincide with the New York World’s Fair in 1965, this Bible was printed by a new process called “microprinting.”

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Book /Archival Collections and Light Exposure

purple

Can you tell that the red book used to be next to the purple one? That the tall books between are newer? And the spine used to be purple but has the most exposure so there is no color left.

Exposing an object to light, whether it is a book or flat item, causes damage that is cumulative over the lifetime of the object. The damage done by light cannot be restored and the item is permanently altered. By keeping the light levels as low as possible while still allowing for adequate viewing of the item, the rate degradation is reduced. This includes color fading and the physical breaking down of the item. Minimizing the amount of time something is exposed to light, even if the levels are low, will also control damage. So we must control the quantity and quality of light exposure to minimize the cumulative damaging effects of light on objects.

Another point to remember is that not only visible light does damage, but also light outside the visible range, such as ultraviolet and infrared.  All light will cause permanent chemical changes in the item, so it is important to monitor light, especially in an exhibit setting, and choose the most appropriate light level for each item.

 light damaged leather has no more colorSome objects are more light-sensitive than others, and require lower light levels. Within archival collections this may include photographic materials, textiles, and color media (printed color, watercolor, tempera, etc.). In an exhibit you may see that these types of materials have lower lights levels than perhaps oil paintings or metal objects.

Here we see a book and its protective box. The spine label is made of the same material as the book cover and was once the same color. The book retains its original color, but the spine label on the box reveals ambient light damage.

-Giselle Simón, Conservator

2

Looking Back on a Semester of New Acquisitions

Patrick Olson inspecting packages

Patrick Olson inspecting packages

Patrick Olson joined us at the beginning of last semester as a new Special Collections Librarian in charge of collections analysis and acquisitions.  Patrick was most recently a rare book cataloger at M.I.T and came to Special Collections librarianship via the rare book trade.  Stop by and ask him about rare books or climbing mountains!

With Patrick in place, Special Collections has seen a flurry of activity this semester with boxes arriving almost daily with new donations and purchases.  The items are in various stages of being catalogued and processed so what follows here is an overview of new arrivals, with more announcements to follow soon.

 

Books:

 

Most recently we announced an extremely important purchase of twelve incunables (books from ~1450-1501).  Read our blog post and stay tuned, we’ll have updates as they are cataloged and ready for research.

William Morris initial

W.Morris proof (left)

Morris, William, Poems by the Way [corrected proof pages], 1891, X – PR5078.P4 1891a  Infohawk record  Blog post

Huxley, Aldous,  After Many a Summer [inscribed to H.G. Wells], 1939, X – PR6015.U9 A68 1939, Infohawk record

Asturias, Miguel Angel,  Leyendas de Guatemala, 1930.  Infohawk record

Hunt, Leigh, A Day by the Fire [Luther Brewer's copy], 1870.

Baskerville title page

Baskerville title page

Von Siebold, Philipp Franz, Manners and Customs of the Japanese, 1841.  X – DS809.M28 1841 Infohawk record

Byron, Lord, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers [extra-illustrated], 1818.

Virgil, Bucolica, Georgica, et Aneis [Baskerville Virgil], 1757. X Folio – AC4.E28 1757. Infohawk record

West, Wallace, Alice in Wonderland [novelization of the 1933 film], 1934. X – PR4611.A73 W47 1934 Infohawk record

Alice in Wonderland, 1934Gifford, Thomas, Praetorian, 1993. Iowa Authors Collection. Infohawk record

Rogers, Bruce (OUP), [Prospectus for the 1935 Oxford Lectern Bible], 1935.  Infohawk record

Wilcox, Daniel, Ernie the Cave King, 1975. X – PZ5.W698 1975 Infohawk record

 

Miniature books:

Carroll, Lewis, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland [miniature book with Rackham illustrations], 2011.  Smith – PR4611.A73 2011  Infohawk record

Pit and the Pendulum image

Pit and the Pendulum

Poe, Edgar Allan, [J. & J. Sobota Press] The Pit and the Pendulum [miniature book], 2005. Mab – PS2618.P5 2005a Infohawk record (Tumblr post)

Dante Alighieri, La Divina Commedia [miniature book], 1878. (Blog post)

Sweet, Pat, The Dragon Gallery [miniature book], 2010, Smith – GR830.D7 S944 2010, Infohawk record (Tumblr post)

Amato, Christina,  Tale of Herville [miniature book], 2010.  Smith – PS3551.M183 T354 2010 Infohawk record

The Dragon Gallery

The Dragon Gallery

Amato, Christina, Swells & Spines, or, The Man Who Bound at Sea [miniature book], 2011.  Smith – PS3551.M183 S94 2011 Infohawk record

 

Artist’s books:

 

Sara Langworthy book and broadsides:

New Patterns Primer [artist's book], 2013.  Infohawk record

Solid Phases, [artist's book], 2013. Infohawk record

Solid Fragments, [artist's book], 2013. Infohawk record

Atlantis, [broadside], 2009.

Reading a book with a blacklight

2013. Invisible Ink

Healong, [broadside].

In the Trance , [broadside], 2009.

A Field Guide to Getting Lost, [broadside], 2010.

Practice, [broadside], 2009.

Small Study [broadside], 2009.

392905_547006075322681_1959319254_n

Pi

Szymborska, Wislawa and Susan Angebranndt of GreenChairPress, Pi, 2003.  [artist's book] X – PG7178.Z9 A222 2003 Infohawk record (Facebook post)

Reed, Justin James, 2013 [invisible ink], 2012.  [artist's book] X Folio – N7433.4.R424 T8 2012 Infohawk record  This text can only be viewed using a black light [included].

Hanmer, Karen, Letter Home, 2004. [artist's book] X – N7433.4.H35 L48 2004 Infohawk record

Hanmer, Karen, Nevermore, Again, 2010, [artist's book] Mab – PS2633.K372 2010 Infohawk record

 

Szathmary Collection:

 

Rowley Cook Book and Sunshine Cook Book [early 20th century community cookbooks]

64 community cookbooks

64 community cookbooks

64 community cookbooks [mostly Iowa] (Facebook post)

Hayward, A., The Art of Dining [railroad edition], 1852.  Infohawk record

Locke, John and Henry, Commercial Cookery Archive (English Catering Company), [Mid 1800s bulk dates], Szathmary Culinary Manuscripts, Collection Guide

Chicago Sun Times, Three original photos of Chef Louis Szathmary, 1970s (Facebook post)

Obama, Michelle, American Grown, 2012.   Infohawk record

 

Manuscripts and Archives:

 

Burger Notebook

Arthur Asa Berger notebooks

Arthur Asa Berger Papers  [University of Iowa alum and professor emeritus of Broadcast and Electronic
Communication Arts at San Francisco State University, where he taught between 1965 and 2003 and author of more than 60 books.].  More than 90 journals with a mix of drawings, photographs, personal life, and plans for books.

Mike Appelstein Collection, [Zine maker and writer who worked for VH1].  1990s zines, particularly music zines. This will especially complement the Sarah and Jen Wolfe Collection of Riot Grrrl and Underground Music Zines.

Joshua Glenn's zines

Joshua Glenn’s zines

Joshua Glenn Collection, 1980s-1990s music fanzines, letters from zine publishers, and zine ephemera. (Joshua Glenn’s Blog). (Tumblr).

Peter Thomas collection of papermaking and paper sample books.

Continuing fanzine acquisitions from the Organization for Transformative Works from many donors including a large donation of early Star Trek fanzines.

Morgan Dawn Collection addendum. [Zines for many TV shows and movies – Dr. Who, Harry Patter, Lord of the Rings, The Professionals, Quantum Leap, Star Trek & more].

George Ludwig papers. [Graduate Student under James Van Allen] (Two blog posts here and here)

George Ludwig Papers

George Ludwig Papers

Dave Morice Collection [1970s Actualist movement.  Poet, illustrator, and performance artist.]  Large addendum including personal papers and lesser known comic books such as Cosmic Boy
and Power of the Atom.  Spanish language comic books, including Condorito.

Iowa Library Association, 20 feet of records.

Hancher Auditorium, 1970s posters. (Blog post)

Gary Frost, administrative and teaching files.

Hancher event poster

Hancher Auditorium Posters

Janine Canan papers [Publications, CDs and DVDs of the feminist poet].

Cloe Mayes Yocum, [Hollywood scripts].

Marquis Childs [Iowa Author]. Manuscript for Cabin.

Sam Becker, [Emeritus faculty], we received a copy of a Saroyan lay Western Awakening.  This was Sam’s copy from a production at the University of Wyoming and is signed by Saroyan.

Adam Boyce.  Collections relating to Charles Taggart, a Chautauqua performer, for our Redpath Chautauqua collection.

Beatrice Abrahamson’s WWII diary

Letter from Marion, Iowa [Regarding settling in to a new life in 19th c Iowa]

Glowgramme, [1933 glow in the dark theater program] X - FOLIO PN2093 .G59 1933  Infohawk record

Stein Collection

Stein Collection

2 photo albums:

Trip to India c. 1900 [professional souvenir in lacquered Japanese binding]

Trip to Fiji & area c. 1920s [amateur photos]

Stein Collection, Muscatine Business owner’s diverse “gentleman’s library.”  This collection will be kept together.

Brian Harvey Collection of 2000+ 19th and early 20th century dog books.

dog books

Dog books

Records of the Progressive Party, and we got an addendum of Pennsylvania Progressive Party papers.  [Papers and press releases].

 

 

Other:

 

Reading room overhead scanner.Reading room scanner

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New Evidence Confirms 1973 Movement to Rename the Field House for the Allman Brothers Band

New at the UI Archives: 1970s-era posters for events at Hancher Auditorium, the Iowa Memorial Union and the UI Fieldhouse. For a brief but intense time in 1973 and ’74 there was a move afoot to rename the Field House for the Allman Brothers Band, which had a memorable gig there on Nov. 9, 1973. The posters are evidence of this unofficial, ill-fated, but totally sincere effort. CUE, the Commission for University Entertainment, was a student organization that encouraged the campaign. Many thanks to Tim Meier of the Hancher Auditorium office for arranging for transfer of these materials to the Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.

 

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Earliest Known Simon Estes Recording – Now Streaming!

Following up from our earlier announcement about the donation and digitization of the earliest known Simon Estes recording, the clip is now streaming!

Read about the original donation and the March 17th concert where Simon Estes was presented with a copy of the recording.

Dec1997_IowaAlumniQuarterly_0030Soloist: Simon Estes , Corrine Semler

Performance by the Old Gold Singers

Hi-Tran Recording Co., Cedar Rapids, IA in 1959 or 1960

I Got Plenty o’Nuttin’ from the musical Porgy and Bess. Music by George Gershwin, lyrics by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin.

 

via I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin’.  <– Click this link to hear the recording!

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1878 Dante: Smallest Movable Type

Miniature book resting on the palm of a handThis is the first of a long string of announcements of new acquisitions that we will be announcing, so follow our blog to hear all the latest!

Tiny is the only word to describe this 58mm volume LinkLa divina commedia di Dante.  This is the second smallest edition of Dante ever printed and is notable for using the smallest movable type ever cast.  It was printed in Milan in 1878 by Ulrico Hoepli.

If you want to test your eyesight, stop by to give this one a try.

Miniature2