News Category


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


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

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 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 8/14/2015


1. New Hours:

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

Image of a clockOur new hours are:

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

Tuesdays: 8:30 AM – 7 PM



2. Request Fall Class Sessions Now

Image of a class using Special Collections materials

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

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




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


4. New Collection Guide Search Engine

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

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


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

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

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

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

6. Big Ten Network Commercial

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



Recently on the Web and Social Media:

1. Digitization

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

See the post here.



2. Star Charts

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

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


New Acquisitions:

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

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

2. Sculptural Book Arts Piece from Daniel Essig

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

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

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News From Special Collections 8/7/2015

Summer 2015 New Staff and Staff Changes:

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


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


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



Recently on the Web and Social Media:

1. If Books Could Talk

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


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

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

3.  Daily Iowan Coverage

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

4. Vine Channel

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


New Acquisitions:

1. Fluxus maps

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

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

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


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

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

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

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






2. 1499 Codex with a Unique Binding

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

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

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



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


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




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Lucy Hartmann

After working in Special Collections for a while, we meet many people who leave a lasting impression on us—collectors, donors of papers, students, and researchers, among others, who devote countless hours to their work in these collections. In the midst of comings and goings, some individuals stand out, and one of them deserves special recognition.

It is with heavy hearts, but also fond memories, that we remember the time we spent with Lucy Hartmann, who passed away on June 22. We got to know Lucy during the time she spent working in Special Collections through the UI REACH program. Lucy was dedicated to her tasks in Special Collections, helping us with filing, sorting, cleaning books, and other duties that helped us to tackle some things that we may not have otherwise been able to resolve. Her contributions to our activities were real and meaningful, and the focus she applied to her work impressed us all. We were able to share some of our favorite items in the collections with her, and were delighted to be able to throw a party for her to commemorate her graduation from UI REACH.

Lucy Hartmann at work in Special Collections.

Lucy Hartmann at work in Special Collections.

I speak on behalf of the entire staff of Special Collections when I say that she will be missed, that her time with us will not be forgotten, and that her efforts are truly appreciated as we continue to go about our daily business. Her time in our department may have been relatively brief, but the impression she made on us is something that will endure with us for a long time to come.

Over the years that we have been involved with UI REACH, thanks to the efforts of our Department Manager Kathy Hodson, we have been fortunate to be able to work with, and learn from, people such as Lucy and former students Alex and Jeff. We look forward to continuing this relationship, and to remembering Lucy by extending opportunities to more students in the future.


Stewart Stern, 1922-2015

Yesterday I walked into a meeting to discuss an upcoming exhibition we are putting together on World War II. On the book truck I pushed in front of me were several boxes from the papers of Stewart Stern. Stern was a World War II veteran, a survivor of the Battle of the Bulge, who went on to a long career as a Hollywood screenwriter (of films such as Rebel Without a Cause) and a teacher. My colleague who greeted me saw the boxes and said that Stewart had passed away, at the age of 92.

My heart immediately sank. Just this past summer Stewart had visited us from his home in Washington state, making the drive across the country with his wife. He came to visit us in the library where his papers are housed, to answer some lingering questions he had about his work that only his own papers could answer, and to see where his legacy was cared for. The visit with Stewart was the kind of occasion that makes this job among the most meaningful occupations a person could have—sitting with someone like Stewart, listening to his stories about Jimmy (James Dean), his days as an actor in theatrical productions at Iowa, about his friends from the war, experiences that still made him choke up so many decades later. He was thrilled to see his papers, and he was so full of life. When I asked if I could take his picture in the stacks as he surveyed his boxes, I thought I would get a nice shot of him smiling. Instead, as I pointed the camera, he sprang into action, sweeping his arms open to proudly display his life’s work. He laughed like a child.

After this meeting with Stewart, I thought about how enjoyable the experience was, and how much I looked forward to seeing him again. The sadness in knowing that will now not be possible is tempered by the knowledge that he entrusted us with his papers, and we have the ability, and the responsibility, to tell others of his accomplishments. This summer a piece or two from Stewart’s wartime papers will be on display in the University of Iowa’s Mobile Museum—please visit us if we are in your town, and help us remember the life of a fascinating man.


Stewart Stern in the stacks at the University of Iowa Libraries, August 2014


The cast of Rebel Without a Cause at the first read through of the script, written by Stewart Stern, who is seated at the far left, next to Nick Ray.


The telegram informing Stewart Stern’s parents that their son had been listed as Missing in Action during the Battle of the Bulge. Stern was later located safe in a hospital, suffering from frostbite.



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 The event is co-sponsored by Melrose Meadows.

Register by Wednesday, October 16th!


View the original post from Iowa Now.


“New” Incunables Arrive in Special Collections

If you have been following any of our social media feeds over the past few days, you may have noticed photos popping up of newly-acquired incunables. So, what’s going on here? First, some background:

Patrick Olson opening a packageIncunables are books printed in Europe during the fifteenth century, between 1450 and 1501, examples of the earliest printed books. The incunabula period is the focus of a great deal of study—the development of printing, and how it affected the design, distribution, and reception of books, remains central to our understanding of book history.

Here at Iowa, we have long held a respectable collection of incunabula, and these books are frequently called for in classes and exhibitions. In recent years, these books have been examined extensively by Tim Barrett for his study of early papermaking, and Iowa is also home to the Atlas of Early Printing, an interactive overview of the spread and development of printing in Europe. The UI Center for the Book continues to pass along the art and craft of letterpress printmaking that first flourished in the incunabula period.

Our recent acquisitions are an attempt to add examples of books and subjects in the incunabula period that we have not had previously. This collection development has been made possible due to the support of the University Libraries acquisitions fund and the Libraries’ Collection Management Committee.

Five 15th century books on a tableSpecial Collections Librarian Pat Olson took charge of this opportunity and identified an outstanding mix of possibilities that enhance our collection in many ways. Among these dozen new titles is the first illustrated edition of Dante printed in Venice. Until now, our incunables largely represented just a single language: Latin. The occasional ancient Greek was the only exception. Our new Dante, however, is in Italian, and so it’s one of our first incunables printed in a vernacular language. The other, also just acquired, is Monte dell’orazione, a private devotional text intended specifically for women. The copy we just acquired is particularly notable for retaining the very rare illustrated wrapper—or to risk oversimplification, the original illustrated paperback binding.

We filled one of our more significant gaps withzodiac the acquisition of our first 15th-century Bible, and in an early pigskin binding to boot. Another first for us is our first Spanish incunable, a book of music printed in red and black at Seville in 1494. We purchased our first 15th-century edition of Ovid, too, here in its original leather-covered wooden boards and retaining its original brass furniture. Early science has been another sparsely covered subject for us, so we acquired a lavishly illustrated astrological text. (NB: What passed for science in the 1400s may not pass for science today.) We also acquired a rather crude dialogue intended for children and the less sophisticated—a rare survival, insofar as such texts were less commonly printed and more commonly read to pieces.

In all cases, we sought books in early (if not original) bindings. Given the serious interest in earlymusic incunable papermaking here at Iowa, we made it a point to pursue books with untrimmed leaves, which serve as uncommon witnesses to original paper sizes. We searched for books with valuable marginalia, interesting provenance, and varying degrees of decoration by hand. Most of these books do have early marginalia, an invaluable resource to support the growing scholarship on the history of reading. Perhaps the most remarkable in terms of provenance is a sammelband (multiple books bound together) printed by the famous scholar-printer Johann Amerbach. Our copy is not just a well preserved example of a 15th-century sammelband, but it contains an inscription noting its donation to a local monastery by the printer himself. As far as textual decoration is concerned, these new acquisitions run the gamut from crude DIY initials to professionally executed penwork and illumination.

There really is something for everyone, and we can’t wait to share them. Once they have been catalogued and properly housed, these books may be viewed by request in our reading room during regular hours. And keep an eye out for an announcement coming at a later date of an opportunity to view these new acquisitions in person, while learning about how incunables are being studied today.


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!