About Author: Colleen Theisen

Outreach and Instruction Librarian. Lover of coffee, as well as 19th century photography, painting, tourism and print.

Posts by Colleen Theisen


Olson Graduate Assistant John Fifield Receives Caxton Club Grant

Image of John FifieldAs we announced in our Friday news post last week, our Olson Graduate Assistant, John Fifield was awarded a Caxton Club grant to continue his research. John’s grant will fund his return to the Biblioteca de la Recoleta in Arequipa, Peru, in January. He will be continuing research on Colonial Spanish monastic libraries and the Transatlantic Book Trade. You can view photos from the projects at the Recoleta at recoleta2015.tumblr.com.


Here is the official press release about the grant:

CHICAGO–The Caxton Club is pleased to announce that it will award $12,000 in grants to seven book artists and researchers.

The grants of up to $2,500 each will be given to graduate and undergraduate students in the Midwest, to help them pursue projects in the fields of book arts, bibliography, the history of the book, library studies, print culture studies and zines.

The 2015-2016 winning projects included: an artist’s book based on historical events in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood in the late 1960s and early 1970s; an artist’s book about the life of the recipient’s grandfather, who obsessively collected exotic artifacts and curiosities, and was swept out to sea, along with his collection, in 2004; and a research project to study rare early European books in the library of a Peruvian convent.

The book projects will all be printed in small editions, and they will be created from a range of materials, from cyanotype and linoleum cuts to handmade paper (made by the artist), paper sculpture, letterpress, and even a tin can.

The Caxton Club received 17 grant proposals from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Columbia College, University of Iowa, Dominican University, and Miami of Ohio.

The grantees are: Hannah Batsel, an MFA candidate at Columbia; Mary Clare Butler, an MFA candidate at Columbia; John Creighton Fifield, an MA and Graduate Certificate Book Studies candidate at the University of Iowa; Ian Huebert, MFA candidate at University of Iowa; Jose Resendiz, MFA candidate SAIC; Amy Richard, MFA candidate at University of Iowa; Cathy Batliner, BFA candidate SAIC.

Since 2002, the club has given out more than $50,000 to support the book arts and help create the next generation of book artists.

The Caxton Club is placing greater emphasis on the work of emerging book artists and the process of recognizing and encouraging them. George Leonard III, expressing the feelings of the Grant Committee said, “I was very impressed with the large number of submissions to the grants committee and with their exceptional quality.” The Committee will continue to explore ways to create greater awareness of the Grants.

Two additional grants will be awarded this year. Established for the first time this year is a scholarship for a Midwesterner to attend a course at Rare Book School. The recipient will be chosen by a RBS committee and will be announced in mid-December.

Also for the first time this year, a grant was awarded to an undergraduate at the School of the Art.

Caxton Club Grant Recipients


News and Updates from Special Collections 11/20/2015

Awards and Recognition

Congratulations to John Fifield, Caxton Club Grant Recipient

Caxton Club Grant RecipientsOn Wednesday, November 18, University of Iowa Center for the Book students Ian Huebert, Amy Richard, and Special Collections’ Olson Graduate Assistant John Fifield all accepted grants from the Caxton Club at the Union League in Chicago. John’s grant will fund his return to the Biblioteca de la Recoleta in Arequipa, Peru, in January. He will be continuing research on Colonial Spanish monastic libraries and the Transatlantic Book Trade. You can view photos from the projects at the Recoleta at recoleta2015.tumblr.com.

Join us in congratulating John!


Congratulations to Kelly Grogg, Ella Von Holtom, and Heather Wacha for Being Accepted Into the Obermann Graduate Institute

Oberman Center House LogoOlson Graduate Assistant Kelly Grogg, and department employees Ella Von Holtom, and Heather Wacha were all accepted as Graduate Fellows for the seventh annual Obermann Graduate Institute on Engagement and the Academy. Join us in congratulating Kelly, Ella, and Heather!

Read more.



New Acquisitions

Early 20th Century Autograph Scrapbook

Marie Mattingly Meloney, the creator of this album, gifted it to Laird C. Addis in 1926. It contains many autographs and small mementos from famous figures of the early 20th century, collected during Meloney’s time as an award-winning reporter and editor. She was close friends with Marie Curie, and was responsible for a nationwide campaign to purchase radium for Curie and her laboratory. More information about the album is available here.  Donated by Laird Addis Jr.

Medieval Quill Cutting & More: If Books Could Talk Video Series Returns

Moving image of cutting the tip of a feather quill











How does a Medieval manuscript tell its story?  If you look closely enough the marginalia, bookplates, library stamps, dirt marks, and page numbers tell a story of how a manuscript was made, who used it, and where it has been.  If Books Could Talk is a video series exploring the questions to ask to investigate a manuscript by examining the physical traces that tell its story. If Books Could Talk is a collaboration between the UI Libraries and History Corps.

Delve in and you will be surprised with what you can learn when you listen to an artifact closely.


From the University Archives

Civil rights activist donates rare material to UI: UI archivist cultivates friendship with key player in 1964 voter registration effort

Image of Eric Morton in uniform as a young man

Civil rights activist Eric Morton’s story is the feature in this month’s Old Gold column from University Archivist David McCartney.

On the left you see Eric Morton in 1951, one year after enlisting in the U.S. Armed Forces. (Eric Morton Civil Rights Papers MsC 0999).

Read more.



From the Iowa Women’s Archives

Remembering Bob McCowan

Image of Bob McCownIowa Women’s Archives Curator Kären Mason shared her memories of former Department Head Bob McCown on what would have been his 76th birthday this week. Read more on the Iowa Women’s Archives blog.  




Staff Profile:  Meet Annie Tunnicliff

Image of Annie Tunnicliff processing archivesAnnie Tunnicliff joined the Iowa Women’s archives this semester as the Dorothy Wirtz Graduate Research Assistant.  When this versatile performer is not working, she wears many faces. Stop by the IWA Tumblr to read the whole feature.





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News and Updates from Special Collections 11/13/2015

Recently Cataloged

Two carts of books

Two carts of 1930s-2000s science fiction books from the James L. “Rusty” Hevelin Science Fiction Collection have recently returned from the Cataloging-Metadata Department.  Among these are hardcover and paperback books as well as magazines and periodicals. Included are works by Isaac Asimov, H.P. Lovecraft, Frank Herbert and more. Use the keyword “Hevelin” in the Infohawk Catalog to browse an up-to-date list of everything from the collection that has a catalog record to date, or check out the gallery below to browse some titles.


Recently Published Collection Guides

  1. Rippey Postcard Collection, MsC1033, Late eighteenth and early twentieth century postcards.  http://aspace.lib.uiowa.edu/repositories/2/resources/2633
  2. Wachel Collection of Early Photographs, MsC1040.  Includes daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, ferreotypes or tintypes, and cyanotypes. It also contains a collection of union cases, mostly holding miniature photographs of the Civil War era. Of special note is an album titled “Canoe Trip 1915” which is the record of a canoe trip taken in Illinois by four men, presumably brothers of the name of Jehren. It is enhanced by the inclusion of rhyming couplets commenting on what is occurring in the photographs.  http://aspace.lib.uiowa.edu/repositories/2/resources/2631

New Acquisitions

1.The Resounding Whistle Comes to the Archives

Archivist holding a steam plant whistleThe recently-retired power plant whistle has arrived at the library! Many thanks to Kyle Smith, electronics instrumentation supervisor in the power plant and whistle historian, for making this possible.

The whistle is the third of a line first used at the plant in 1939; this particular one functioned from sometime between 1992 and 1994 until last Tuesday, when #4 was activated. More about the whistle and its history is at http://now.uiowa.edu/2015/11/whistle-work

You can see a photo of this whistle in action in 2011 here.


2. Marie Curie Dedication

Marie Curie inscribed this lovely edition of Pierre Curie to Laird Clark Addis, the father of the donor. Laird C. Addis donated the book earlier this year, along with another that will be featured next week. We are very excited to receive these pieces of scientific history.


From the Web and Social Media

Digital Transitions posted a featured video about the UI Libraries digitization equipment and NEH grant funded project to digitize Special Collections’ extremely brittle Vaudeville scrapbooks.


Event Recap

People gathered around Greg Prickman looking at books

Three copies of Liber Chronicarum (The Nuremberg Chronicle) from 1493 were on hand for the Iowa Bibliophiles talk last Wednesday night.  Greg Prickman, Head of Special Collections introduced the provenance of the copy from the Main Library, the copy from the John Martin Rare Book Room at the Hardin Medical Library, and a copy from the private collection of Arthur Bonfield.

Thanks to everyone who attended!  Next month’s meeting is Wednesday, December 9th at 7pm where Arthur Bonfield will give a talk about his collections of 16-17th century travel literature.


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News and Announcements from Special Collections 11/7/2015

New Acquisitions

Lindset, John (ed.). Alice in a World of Wonderlands. Oak Knoll Press, 2015.
This superb three volume set arrived recently from Oak Knoll Press, which published it in cooperation with the Lewis Carroll Society of North America. The first volume includes Essays on Alice, the second includes Back-Translations, and the third includes a massive checklist.


Micrographia: Book Art Responses to Early Modern Scientific Books

November 5-December 18th, Third Floor Main Library

Participating artists were invited to create an imaginative response ‘just beyond the edge of sight’ inspired by these enduring philosophical and scientific questions. Artists were assigned selected scientific books held in the John Martin Rare Book Room or Special Collections at the University of Iowa Libraries. On exhibit are the art works that were created alongside a selection of the scientific books used as inspiration.




micro3Friday, 11/13/15 – 3:00-5:00 pm

Special Collections Reading Room, 3rd Floor, UI Main Library

All Are Welcome



2. Iowa Bibliophiles Speaker Greg Prickman, “Three Nuremberg Chronicles”


Greg Prickman, the Head of Special Collections will present a rare opportunity to view three complete copies of the Nuremberg Chronicle, printed in 1493, one from Special Collections, one from the John Martin Rare Book Room, and one from the private collection of Arthur Bonfield. He will describe the provenance of the three copies and discuss why the copy-specific features of each book are important to our understanding of the book trade.

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015
Light refreshments at 6:30PM, Talk begins at 7:00PM
Special Collections Reading Room
3rd Floor Main Library, 125 W Washington St.


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.


News and Announcements

Google Books

The University of Iowa Libraries has been participating in the Google Books project. In the past few weeks as part of this work about 1,400 Special Collections books have been pulled, barcoded, and sent off to be scanned. Many thanks to Paula Balkenede who made this possible!


From the Web and Social Media

1. NPR Feature



Evelyn Birkby was featured in an NPR segment last week.

Food Podcasts 1.0: These Radio Pioneers Had It Down 90 Years Ago

Birkby was a radio and newspaper columnist and her papers are held in the Iowa Women’s Archives.


2. Social Media Milestone


Special Collections’ new acquisition box opening videos that Margaret Gamm and Colleen Theisen have been creating have gathered over one million views in eleven months on the social media site Vine and through the views that they attract as those posts are shared to Tumblr.  Please join us in recognizing their efforts to spread the word about the materials available in the UI Libraries.



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News and Updates from Special Collections 10/30/2015


Dada surrealism



For a sneak preview of the new issue of Dada/Surrealism, go to http://ir.uiowa.edu/dadasur/vol20/iss1/. Several years in the making, Dada/Surrealism no. 20 is a special issue, “From Dada to Infra-noir: Dada, Surrealism, and Romania,” and is a collaboration between general editor Tim Shipe and Monique Yaari, professor of French at Penn State. This is a “soft launch”—the articles are being published incrementally, and we will announce the “official” publication when the remaining contents have been uploaded.


New Acquisitions

Goodacre, Selwyn. All the Snarks: The Illustrated Editions of the Hunting of the Snark. Inky Parrot Press, 2006.

The first page of this book quotes Lewis Carroll’s 1896 quote regarding the meaning behind The Hunting of the Snark: “I’m very much afraid I didn’t mean anything but nonsense.” The illustrations in this book are indicative of the sentiment, though they come together nicely here. A check list near the back of the book provides numbers of Snark editions in English, French, Swedish, and other languages.

Event Recap

Greg Prickman introducing the exhibition spaceWe are thrilled to announce that the renovation of the gallery space, made possible by a generous grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust*, is now complete. On Sunday, October 22nd there was a sneak peek of the new gallery space for our “Friends of the Libraries” group. On display were items from throughout the University of Iowa Libraries’ collections. The UI Libraries’ Exhibition Team is now preparing the first exhibition about James Van Allen and the newly digitized space data sound recording tapes. Look for the new exhibition and Grand Opening early in the spring semester.


 * A previous version of this text erroneously identified the total budget for the renovation as being $500,000, whereas $500,000 was the total of the Roy J. Carver Grant


Image of students looking at Alber's bookThis week, Sue Hettmansperger from the School of Art and Art History took her painting class to Special Collections to see the work of Josef Albers, from the Bauhaus School in Germany and the Black Mountain College in the United States. Together, Hettmansperger, her students, and librarian Amy Chen explored the texts Interaction of Color and Formulation, Articulation. This class became extra fun when students compared and contrasted the original plates from the Interaction of Color with how the plates were depicted on the app for this title created by Yale (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/interaction-color-by-josef/id664296461?mt=8). This photo depicts students placing the two side-by-side. Amy downloaded this app to her personal iPad to allow students to try out different color theories digitally while also critically reflecting on the way in which archival holdings can be adapted/translated into new media.


From the Web & Social Media

An unsettling animation

Animated GIF of optical illusion

Department Liaison Lindsay Moen found an appopriately unsettling 18th century reminder of mortality to feature for the Halloween season.

Dance of Death,or Todten-Tanz, wie derselbe in … Basel als ein Spiegel menschlicher Beschaffenheit künstlich gemahlet und zu sehen ist. Published in 1744,  the Minns “Dance of Death” collection is set in the famous city of Basel.

To see a collection of images from this text and to see this optical illusion animated, head over to our Tumblr.



Important Dates

bibliophiles logoNovember 11th, Iowa Bibliophiles Meeting, 7PM

December 9th, Iowa Bibliophiles Meeting, 7PM

If you would like to receive a monthly email with a reminder about the Iowa Bibliophiles talk/event in Special Collections please send an email to be added to the list.​  colleen-theisen@uiowa.edu



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News and Updates from Special Collections 10/23/2015

Upcoming Events

Halloween Event in the Learning Commons

Cover of "Japanese Fairy Tales" bookThis Halloween, join Special Collections and University Archives as we create a pop-up museum featuring items by American writer and artist, Edward Gorey, along with some of our more literally gory books.  You’ll even be able to take a bit of our collections with you, in button form!  We’ll have the library’s button maker available for you to create a gory (or Gorey) button of your very own.

We’ll be in Group Area D from 3:00-6:30pm in the Learning Commons on Tuesday, October 27th so head on over and prepare for some Gor(e)y sights.


Staff Awards and Recognition

Janet Weaver Receives League of United Latin American Citizens Builder Award

Image of Janet WeaverWeaver, who works as the assistant curator of the Iowa Women’s Archives, has conducted hours of interviews and research to create the Latino historical archives and the Mujeres Latinas project at the university to ensure that the history of LULAC’s Eastern Iowa councils is not lost.



Event Recap

40th anniversary ICON Science Fiction Convention

ICON logoSpecial Collections had a large presence at the 40th anniversary ICON Science Fiction Convention that took place last weekend in Cedar Rapids. ICON was founded forty years ago by students in Joe Haldeman’s science fiction class at the University of Iowa, and Rusty Hevelin was closely tied to this convention family.  Librarians from Special Collections participated in four ways:

  1. Official presentation of a check for $1,955 at the opening ceremonies. The community raised the money last year in an auction to support digitizing Rusty Hevelin’s fanzines.
  2. Had a table in the dealer’s room to give updates about the Hevelin Collection fanzine digitization.
  3. Appeared on many panels throughout the convention including an update about the digitization project, educational panels about science fiction topics, and they also hosted a panel about getting the most out of the library as a writer in partnership with librarian Lisa Martincek.
  4. Participated in a collaborative fanzine making project throughout the weekend teaching how to use traditional technologies such as typewriters and ditto machines. This project had an unexpectedly huge response from the community with contributions from multiple generations of fans ranging from children to award winning authors. A full report of this project will follow in a later blog post.

Special Collections is already looking forward to ICON 41 next year!


New Acquisitions

An Alice in Wonderland Acquisition for the 150th Anniversary of its publication

Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Sesquicentennial Edition. Inky Parrot Press, 2015.

This sesquicentennial edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland hosts a variety of creepy yet intriguing illustrations, juxtaposing Japanese artistic interpretations of Alice with Welsh interpretations, English, Italian, South African, Russian, Indonesian, and more.


News and Announcements

Oberman Center House Logo

“Alt-Ac” Newsletter

Amy Chen is working with a team at the Obermann Center to set up a newsletter on alt-ac careers that will go out a few times a semester. The newsletter will link to articles on the topic and it will also cover upcoming events, speakers, and contacts that would be of interest to alt-ac inclined graduate students. To make sure this newsletter is successful, she needs to locate the students who would be interested in receiving this information.

If you want to learn more about alt-ac careers, please complete this sign-up sheet: https://goo.gl/Wg5UkH.


Upcoming Campus Events of Interest

Image from Aristotle's book which is the subject of the lecture2015 Brownell Lecture on the History of the Book | Center for the Book

Mary E. Fissell on “Making Babies: A Look at an Early Sex Manual”

Thu, 11/05/2015 – 7:30pm, W151 Papajohn Business Building (PBB) 

Aristotle’s Masterpiece was the bestselling book about making babies on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean from the late 17th to the early 20th century—but the book isn’t by Aristotle, and it’s not usually considered a masterpiece…



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News From Special Collections 10/16/2015

Librarians in the Wild:

ICON Science Fiction Convention October 16-18th, 2015

Image of the front cover of the first ICON convention program

ICON Program, 1975

The ICON Science Fiction convention began 40 years ago, born from a passionate group of fans that met in a science fiction class taught here at the University of Iowa by the Hugo and Nebula award winning author Joe Haldeman, and the same group who formed a U.I. student group called S.F.L.I.S. (Science Fiction League of Iowa Students). This weekend marks the convention’s 40th Anniversary. (See the program booklet for the first ICON convention from 1975: Here).

The 40th Anniversary convention is taking place this weekend at the Doubletree in downtown Cedar Rapids.  (There is still time to register). A partner exhibition is being held at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art including works created by each Artist Guest of Honor that has been a featured guest in the history of the convention.

Special Collections staff with an oversized checkAt the opening ceremonies Friday night, University of Iowa Librarians Peter Balestrieri and Colleen Theisen will be officially presented with a check for $1955.00 that was raised by the community in an auction last year to be used to support the digitization of the 1930s-1950s fanzines in the James L. “Rusty” Hevelin Science Fiction Collection. Rusty was a beloved member of the ICON community, and the community came together both donating items to be auctioned and bidding on those items in a heartwarming display of support for the University of Iowa’s role in carrying on the care and legacy of Rusty and his collection.

You will be able to catch the University of Iowa librarians throughout the weekend at the convention, both at a table in the dealer’s room where you can pick up our zine detailing the current status of the Hevelin Fanzine Digitization Project, and also at various panels throughout the weekend about Science Fiction and zine history, about using a University Library for research as a writer, and as co-conspirators for a project to make a mimeographed fanzine over the course of the weekend.

Read more about the Fanzine Digitization Project: Slate article or Official FAQ.

Read more about the donation: Here


Event Recap:

Iowa Bibliophiles October Meeting

Image of John Fifield Presenting about the library at the Recoleta

Wednesday, October 14th, John Fifield, one of our current Olson Graduate Assistants, presented about his work this summer at the Convent of the Recoleta in Arequipa, Peru, where he assisted with identifying and cataloging early printed books in the convent’s collection.  In the photo on the screen (click thumbnail to enlarge) you can see images of the exquisite handcrafted display cases in the convent library that were built by Bill Voss, of the University of Iowa conservation lab, on an unrelated trip in years past. Thanks to everyone who attended, especially the many new faces this month! The lively Q&A that followed the talk had to be cut short due to time constraints, so any unanswered follow up questions can be directed to john-fifield@uiowa.edu.

An example from UI Special Collections of a typical 17th-century Peruvian book will be in the case just inside the doors of Special Collections for the rest of October if you would like to stop by and learn about printing in Peru during the Spanish Colonial period.



From the Web and Social Media:

1. This month’s Old Gold column

1960 U I Football Team Photo

Remembering a time when postseason play was limited: 1960 Hawkeye football squad loses once, misses out on Rose Bowl

University Archivist David McCartney’s monthly Old Gold column tasks him with being a sports writer this month.

Photo: The 1960 Hawkeye football team. Image courtesy of University of Iowa Yearbooks collection, Department of Special Collections and University Archives, UI Libraries.


2. Weekly Dada related posts on Instagram – #dadagrams

Tim Shipe, curator of the International Dada Archives, has been posting about Dada on Instagram once a week on Thursdays. The #dadagram series will continue as a lead up to the 100th Anniversary celebration in 2017.  Fans of Dada should definitely keep tabs on this series on Instagram.


3. Milestone Reached – 20,000 likes & reblogs

Sometimes it is nice to step back and recognize milestones. This animated GIF of re-sewing a text block on single raised cords upstairs in the UI Conservation Lab is now one of the most popular social media post we’ve ever made. With comments like “OMG, I’ve wondered how to do that for the longest time!”, it’s clear that even a momentary snippet can bring to light some of the otherwise invisible work that happens behind the scenes in the library.



New Acquisitions:

1. Georg von Logau. Hoc volumine continentur…poëtæ tres egregii. Augsburg 1534

Latin classes return to Special Collections every semester to survey the material history of the transmission of Latin authors through time. We hope to see this little book used in many Latin classes over the years. Featuring work by Gattius , Nemesianus, and Calpurnius, it focuses on hunting, fishing, sporting dogs, and country life, and should be a very approachable text for even brief visits.

2. Peter and Donna Thomas The Renaissance Pleasure Faire Broadsides, 1974-2011.

A retrospective collection of ten typographic broadsides that Peter and Donna Thomas made when working at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire. The broadsides were all letterpress printed on Peter’s handmade paper. They were illustrated with linoleum cuts and watercolor rubrication by Donna. An introductory broadside and a book they published in 1988 with a photographic history of the Faire are included with the broadsides.

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News from Special Collections 10/6/2015

Staff Changes

Image of Kathy HodsonOur beloved Department Manager Kathy Hodson has retired after more than 16 years of dedicated service to the UI Libraries. Friday, October 2, 2015 was her last day. Please join us in wishing her the best for all of her new pursuits.




New Acquisitions

Brochard. Musæum selectum. Paris 1729

One question we are asked frequently is “where do you get your stuff?” Books like this help answer that question from a historical perspective. This catalog of Michel Brochard’s collection is a slice of book history, containing not only Brochard’s classification system of his library, but also annotated prices and purchasers of each book dating from when the collection was sold after Brochard’s death.


From the Web and Social Media

1447758898384217747The Science Fiction website io9 featured photos of pulp magazine covers from the Hevelin Collection Tumblr.  All photos are from Laura Hampton. You can see the article here.





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News From Special Collections 9/19 – 9/25/2015

From the Web and Social Media:

Slate logo

Slate featured the Hevelin Collection Fanzine Digitization Project this week.  You can read their coverage of the UI Libraries’ work digitizing 1930s-1950s science fiction fanzines here.




New Acquisitions:

Agricola. Trattenimenti sulle vernici. Ravenna 1789.

This book bridges several of our collection areas, covering a very broad array of topics; overall, it could be considered an early “how to” guide. Painting, printmaking, sculpting, cartography, conservation, cooking, gardening, rat extermination, and stain removal are all addressed, and are accompanied by an extensive bibliography.


Staff Publications:

Image of Amy Chen

Amy Chen led a group of current and former Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) postdoctoral fellows to write a piece for a CLIR report that is now available online here.

Changing and Expanding Libraries: Exhibitions, Institutional Repositories, and the Future of Academia, by Amy Chen, Sarah Pickle, and Heather Waldroup appears in The Process of Discovery: The CLIR Postdoctoral Fellowship Program and the Future of the Academy, edited by John C. Maclachlan, Elizabeth A. Waraksa, and Christa Williford.



University Archivist David McCartney assisted in the production of this documentary.

11423656_875087552576529_3006066007393295911_nMonday September 28, 2015, 5:00 pm at FilmScene in Iowa City –  “Iowans Return to Freedom Summer” (Iowa PBS, 2014, 48 mins).  In the summer of 1964, hundreds of predominantly white college students answered the call from Civil Rights leaders to volunteer for Freedom Summer. They joined with voter registration efforts, taught in freedom schools and worked in community centers in towns throughout racially segregated Mississippi. This documentary features five native Iowans sharing why they felt compelled to volunteer. Following the screening there will be a discussion with producer Patti Miller and historian Shel Stromquist, both of whom were among the volunteers.  


Event Recap:

NVRDStaff from Special Collections including the Iowa Women’s Archives participated in an event for National Voter Registration Day in the Learning Commons on Tuesday, providing a display of historic voting and suffrage related materials.  In partnership with the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Johnson County, we registered 82 voters here in the Library, and a total of 171 overall at the four host locations (ICPL, Coralville PL, and Kirkwood).   #CelebrateN​VRD​



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News from Special Collections 9/18/2015

New Staff:

Image of Alonso Avila

Alonso Avila is a new librarian and will begin his residency at the University of Iowa Libraries by spending a year working in Special Collections & University Archives. In May 2015, he received his Master’s degree from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Prior to UIUC, Alonso worked as a special education tutor at a charter high school in Chicago, and also served two years in Peace Corps Jordan. Alonso’s research interests include the intersection of youth culture and social justice, as well as the interrelationship between librarianship and hip hop’s 5th element, knowledge AKA information literacy. While at The University of Iowa Libraries, he plans on building and gaining a new set of skills that will help him become a successful academic librarian whether in Chicago or any other institution around the world.


From the Web and Social Media:

1. Iowa Public Radio Interview

Image of Peter Balestrieri holding zines


Librarians Peter Balestrieri and Laura Hampton were interviewed on Iowa Public Radio this week about digitizing 1930s-1950s science fiction fanzines. You can hear the four minute interview or read the transcript here.





2. Cheryl Jacobsen Calligraphy Video

Image of Calligraphy

Cheryl Jacobsen, professional calligrapher and Lettering Arts instructor for the University of Iowa Center for the Book spoke about historic black letter hands from Medieval manuscripts at the Iowa Bibliophiles meeting last week. While there, she did a calligraphy demonstration and Colleen Theisen put together this short video of her work.



New Acquisitions:

1. Emblem book

Paradin. Devises Heroïques. Lyon 1551.

This is the first edition of the first illustrated book of devices, or emblem book. Iowa has a growing collection of emblem books, which are frequently used for class sessions, but none are quite like this. Paradin’s devices went without explanation until  the second edition was printed in 1557 with more text. This first edition, with its complete lack of explanation, is oddly appealing in its vagueness.

2. Facsimiles of Historic Bindings

Two wonderful new facsimiles have arrived that are extremely high quality reproductions of early types of medieval manuscripts and their bindings.

The first is Historia Langobardorum by Paul the Deacon which is a 9th century text that is fundamental to understand the relationship between the Lombards, the Franks, the Byzantine Empire and the Papacy.  The bare boards binding allows students to view how the quires are assembled and sewn in the text.

The second is Liber Precum, a facsimile of a 16th century book with a girdle style binding.  The manuscript combines two Latin texts, each written and decorated separately and apparently unique in the forms found in this book: the first portion of the manuscript is a series of prayers on the life and Passion of Christ, and the second is a set of sermons and prayers in prose and verse, many attributed to distinguished spiritual authors, among them Saints Anselm, Gregory, Bernard, Jerome, and Thomas, as well as Jean Gerson and others.  It includes 41 full page miniatures.


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