Exhibitions Category


Edward Gorey’s Reawakening of Dracula

By Hannah Hacker

Gif of Dracula transforming into a bat

Dracula has been a name that has instilled fear and fascination in the imaginations of readers and viewers since its original publication by Bram Stoker in 1897. There have been many adaptations and remakes of the novel since then, including F.W. Murnau’s silent film Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Graunens, the 1931 Universal Studios version of Dracula starring Bela Lugosi, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula starring Gary Oldman and directed by Francis Ford Coppola in 1992.

There was even a play adaptation about the captivating vampire. In 1924, Hamilton Deane adapted Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula into a stage play with the permission of Stoker’s widow. The play toured in England and was brought to Broadway in 1927.

Dracula was revived in 1977 under the direction of Dennis Rosa. Sets and costumes were designed by Edward Gorey, who is well-known for his quirky cat drawings on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and other Gothic illustrations that have graced the covers of numerous classics, poetry books, and various other publications. With the set and costume design for Dracula, Gorey channeled his obsession with bats. Bats can be found in the walls, in the cobblestone, in the furniture – there are even bats incorporated into the characters’ clothing, like Renfield’s bat-buttoned pajamas.



The set and costumes were so enthralling that the play soon became known as “Edward Gorey’s production of Dracula,” instead of being fully credited to the director. Gorey’s designs were nominated for Tony Awards, and the production received a Tony in 1977 for the best revival of a play.

Dracula closed in 1980 after a strong run of 925 performances.

Edward Gorey’s vision of Dracula did not die with the close of the play. The designs rose once again in 1979 when Scribner’s published them as a spiral-bound book called Dracula: A Toy Theatre. The book contains Gorey’s original designs of the sets and characters, as well as a synopsis of the characters, scenes, and acts. The images of the characters, furniture, and set could be cut out from the pages and taped together so the reader could create their own interactive version of the original stage.

More recently, Pomegranate Communications picked up the book and made it into a box set of the toy theater with loose leaves of die-cut fold-ups and fold-outs. Once the theatre is constructed, the reader can have a full 3-D model of all three acts of the play.

Dracula Toy Theatre Act 1

Dracula Toy Theatre Act 1

Dracula Toy Theatre Act 2

Dracula Toy Theatre Act 2

Dracula Toy Theatre Act 3

Dracula Toy Theatre Act 3

Here at the University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections, we not only have a copy of Scribner’s publication of Dracula: A Toy Theatre, but two copies of the Pomegranate publication as well.

If you want to see them in person, you can swing on by to the Special Collections on the third floor of the Main Library. Otherwise, on October 28th, 11:00am – 3:00pm, we will be hosting a Halloween Pop-Up Exhibit on the first floor of the Main Library, where the complete construction of Dracula: A Toy Theatre will be the star of the exhibit, along with a showcase of some of our spookiest comics and fanzines.

Read more about the event at the link below, and we hope to see you there!

Halloween Pop-Up Exibit


A ‘Gorey’ Good Time: Pop Up Exhibit



Works Cited

“Dracula (1924 Play).” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.

“Dracula (1977 Play).” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.

“Dracula.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2016.

Miller, Patrice. “Bat Ambassador: Edward Gorey.” The Edward Gorey House. Edward Gorey House, n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.

Popova, Maria. “When Edward Gorey Illustrated Dracula: Two Masters of the Macabre, Together.” Brain Pickings. Brain Pickings, 17 Sept. 2015. Web. 19 Oct. 2016.


Sunday! Shakespeare Family Festival – Book Arts, Crafts, Fencing, and Celebrating Shakespeare

shakespearean actor in fencing stanceSHAKESPEAREAN FAMILY FESTIVAL

Hands-on demonstrations of book arts, acting, fencing

18 September 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Main Library, North Plaza

Rain location: Just inside the Main Library’s north entrance

Free of charge, open to the public



All are welcome to attend this event filled with activities for all ages. Come celebrate the art of book making and other Shakespearean delights, featuring a lively cast of actors, artists, scholars, book makers, and fencers. Roll up your sleeves for book art fun with paper making, book binding, and more.In Shakespeare’s time, all books were made by hand.  But that didn’t mean book craftspeople were slow.  A team of 3 papermakers could make 2000 or more sheets in a day!  Individuals and families are encouraged to come join us, have a chance to try various aspects of bookmaking, and take home a piece of paper, a printed sheet or a bound small book that you make yourself!

Papermaking—Form your own sheet of paper from wet pulp, press it, and take it with you to dry at home. Handouts will be provided for more information about papermaking history and how to make it at home.

Printing—Print a small keepsake on a hand press similar to the presses that were used in Shakespeare’s time.  The printed impression will be a piece of Shakespeare’s writing, with a bit of background on the Bard.

Bookbinding—Bind a simple pamphlet structure, using xerox copied Shakespeare text, and a handmade paper cover. Requires basic sewing with a (dull!) darning needle.

Visitors are welcome to take part in one, two, or all three activities!

Hands Making Paper



Special Collections News & Updates 7/22/2016


Migration is Beautiful Website Premieres at the 2016 National LULAC Convention

Janet Weaver in front of Migration is Beautiful display

July 12th was the kickoff for the 2016 National LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) convention. Janet, assistant curator for the Iowa Women’s Archives, attended the conference to promote “Migration is Beautiful,” a new website featuring vignettes, oral history interview clips, memoirs, letters, and  photographs from the IWA’s Mujeres Latinas Project.

The new website highlights the experiences and contributions Latinas and Latinos have made to the state of Iowa. It also hosts an interactive map that shows the migration of Latinos through Iowa during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Read more on the Iowa Women’s Archives Tumblr:  http://iowawomensarchives.tumblr.com/post/147700561076/july-12th-was-the-kickoff-for-the-2016-national


Hevelin Collection Transcription “Soft” Launch:

Early fanzinesUPDATE: transcription of the Hevelin Fanzines has begun! This afternoon 1,000 pages of scanned zines were opened up to a select group of fans for transcription. This “soft launch” of the transcription phase will give us an idea of how quickly transcription will go, and reveal any unexpected challenges we have not foreseen. All of the zines were published between the years 1930-1950, and represent a variety of content, creators, and printing techniques. We are now one step closer to our final goal: a text-searchable database which will offer unprecedented access to this massive and fascinating collection. Onward!

From Hevelin Tumblr: http://hevelincollection.tumblr.com/post/147607267899/update-transcription-of-the-hevelin-fanzines-has



New Spring/Summer issue of the UI Libraries’ Newsletter, Bindings

whitmanRead it online now: http://www.pageturnpro.com/Libraries-at-the-University-of-Iowa/73547-University-of-Iowa-Libraries-Bindings-Magazine-SpringSummer-2016/index.html#1

Or download it here: http://ir.uiowa.edu/lib_bindings/28/







Instruction Update:

Image of teachingFall is approaching – remember, we book classes on a first come, first serve basis.

If you want to get the date and time you want, please book your sessions through our form: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/forms/speccoll_class/.

We do not accept class requests sent to personal emails of special collections librarians.


Current Exhibitions:

The two exhibitions will run through August 24, 2016.

Visiting Exhibition: Geographies: The Midwest Examined from The Midwest Guild of Book Workers

Geographies exhibition title card with example book








A Collection of Wood and Rocks

Our graduate student worker Ellen Wrede put together a curious collection of stones, wood, and oddities from the natural world found in Special Collections.










1960’s Online Exhibition from the University Archives is Now Online

1960's exhibit front pageA new digital exhibition curated by University Archivist David McCartney is now online highlighting over 150 entries pulled from 30 different collections in the University of Iowa Archives such as “Sutdent Life, ” “Pop Culture,” ” Politics & Protest,” ” and “Civil Rights.” Video and audio clips from the time give a tour of the sights and sounds.


Browse the exhibition:  http://dsps.lib.uiowa.edu/sixties/



Big Ten Network Filming:

Last week we had a film crew visit from the Big Ten Network to make a one minute film about Special Collections outreach. As video producers it was an enormous opportunity to watch a major network’s team in action. We’ll post about the segment in the coming months when it is released. Stay tuned.

Person operating a TV camera








Donate to the University Libraries’ Special Collections Fund

Want to stay connected?  Follow us on social media:

facebookInstagram logovinetumblrTwitteryoutube


Special Collections News & Updates 6/17/2016


Shakespeare Events This Weekend:

Pericles in City Park from the Riverside Theater. Info: http://daily-iowan.com/2016/06/16/shakespeare-at-sea-opens-riverside-in-the-park/

King Lear on the lawn at Salisbury House in Des Moines from Repertory Theater of Iowa. Info: http://rtiowa.com/king-lear/


Big News From the University of Iowa Center for the Book:

The University of Iowa Center for the Book has been testing the numbers from historic records that indicated early paper making shops could make 2000 sheets a day. After several attempts, this year, they matched that output:

(See their gallery of images here: https://www.facebook.com/University-of-Iowa-Center-for-the-Book-118780728163253/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1127314790643170)

They did it! 2000 sheets in one day! Congrats to all who participated!

A photo posted by UICB (@uictrbook) on


Instruction Update:

Amy Chen will be out of the office for two weeks to attend two conferences between Monday, June 13 and Friday, June 24. During this time, John Fifield will be answering the instruction request form. A reminder that instruction requests should always be directed to the form, not to an individual, for cases like this when Amy will be out of town. When Amy returns, the instruction request form will return to her.


50 Years of Star Trek Exhibition Continues Until August 5th

The tribbles multiplied this week, but they are contained. Don’t worry, we’ve got everything under control.


From the Web & Social Media

Historical Crushes video series continues:


New episode of Staxpeditions:

Coming Soon:

Migration is Beautiful Title ImagePreparations are underway to launch the Iowa Women’s Archives’ Migration is Beautiful website and accompanying 8×8-foot popup exhibit of Iowa Latina/o history at the national LULAC convention in Washington DC in July. Thanks to the Friends of the University of Iowa Libraries for making the physical exhibit possible!









Donate to the University Libraries’ Special Collections Fund

Want to stay connected?  Follow us on social media:

facebookInstagram logovinetumblrTwitteryoutube


Felicia Rice and Guillermo Gómez-Peña Artwork Doc/Undoc on Display

Last week Special Collections the Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professors Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Felicia Rice stopped by Special Collections for a performance and their collaborative work Doc/Undoc is now on display.

Rice performed “DOC/UNDOC: Collaboration and Metamorphosis,” followed by a conversation with Guillermo Gómez-Peña on March 31st.

Gómez-Peña is a performance artist whose live art, video, radio, photography, and writing have earned acclaim — and many awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship — over the past thirty years. He is the artistic director of the transnational performance collective La Pocha Nostra.

Rice’s design, printing, and publication work for her Moving Parts Press (Santa Cruz, CA) has been exhibited at major book fairs in New York and Frankfurt, and collected by the Whitney Museum, the Bodleian Library, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, among others. Rice is also an educator who teaches courses in letterpress printing, typography, printmaking, typography, and bookmaking at institutions ranging from UC-Santa Cruz to the Santa Cruz YWCA.

Together with their collaborators, Gómez-Peña and Rice have published artists’ books including DOC/UNDOC: Documentado/Undocumented, Ars Shamánica Performática (2014), a copy of which is held by UI’s Special Collections.

Doc/Undoc as well as selections of work from the Moving Parts Press on loan from Felicia Rice are on display in the third floor hallway gallery cases outside of Special Collections until May 20th, 2016.

Event 3/31:


Doc/Undoc Exhibition:

Display created by Ellen Wrede.


DOC/UNDOC : Documentado/Undocumented Ars Shamánica Performática / texts Guillermo Gómez-Peña, images & bookwork Felicia Rice, video Guillermo Gómez-Peña & Gustavo Vazquez, critical commentary Jennifer González, sound art Zachary Watkins.  Santa Cruz, CA : Moving Parts Press, 2014.

Special Collections x-Collection N7433.4.G644 D63 2014 


Thanks to the UI Deparment of English, The Department of Theater Arts, The University of Iowa Center for the Book, The Obermann Center, Jennifer Buckley, Tim Barrett, Ellen Wrede, Giselle Simón, Candida Pagan, Heidi Bartlett and everyone from Special Collections who worked to make the event and exhibition possible.


Main Library Exhibition Gallery is Now OPEN : First Exhibition “Explorer’s Legacy”

Explorer’s Legacy:

James Van Allen and the Discovery of the Radiation Belts

February 1 – April 8



After months of being closed for renovations the new state of the art gallery in the University of Iowa Main Library is now open. Stop by and take a look at the exhibition, including the story of the discovery of the radiation belts, and the tale of how the earliest data recorded from space was recovered, digitized, and made available for scientists and scholars.

Gallery hours:

Monday-Saturday: 10am – 5pm
Sunday: 11am – 5pm

Read More about this exhibition.


One Week Only! Introduction to Book History Class Exhibition

The Introduction to Book History course taught by Gregory Prickman, Head of Special Collections & University Archives, curated this exhibition as a group to showcase their research. This week only it will remain on display outside Special Collections & University Archives’ reading room on the 3rd floor of the Main Libary.  Stop by to see a remarkable selection of books, highlighting interesting research from students from a range of departments including the Center for the Book, the School of Library and Information Science, Art, English and more.



New Exhibition – Reconstructing ‘The American Reader’

The American Reader Title PageSpecial Collections & University Archives is pleased to announce our newest exhibition Reconstructing ‘The American Reader’ from English Department graduate student Miriam Janechek which highlights a new type of research now possible with access to searchable digitized copies of books online.  The American Reader is a textbook printed in 1808 which, like other readers, combines hundreds of excerpts from different types of published works but includes no citations.  By searching the massive numbers of books now searchable in the Google Books Project, in combination with the wealth of 18th century books in Special Collections, it becomes possible to trace the origins of the passages to find the original publications, collect them together and display them to reveal a snapshot of the types of works that made up The American Reader and more broadly that comprised education in 1808, just as the United States was abandoning European educational models and developing a sense of national identity through education. 

The exhibition can be viewed just outside Special Collections & University Archives on the third floor of the Main Library anytime the library is open and continues until January 3, 2013.


“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

Monumental Ideas in Miniature Books II

“Monumental Ideas in Miniature Book Making” is a traveling exhibition of more than 100 artists’ miniature books from eight countries curated by Hui-Chu Ying, Professor of The Myers School of Art, at the University of Akron. These small treasures by nationally and internationally recognized book artists explore epic tales, poetry, and storytelling using diverse book and printmaking techniques.  Emily Martin and Jill Kambs from the University of Iowa Center for the Book have works featured in this exhibition.  This visually stunning and dramatically eclectic collection demonstrates in stunning miniature the breadth and variety of contemporary artist’s books. 

The books will be exhibited outside Special Collections and University Archives on the third floor of the Main Library for just four more weeks until October 22nd, 2012.

For exquisite photographic views of each of the works, visit the MIMB2 Flickr page:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/mimborg/