Special Collections librarians can support any aspect of class planning for teaching with rare books and primary source materials.
We had a record-breaking 2015, so sign up early or else our rooms and librarians may already be booked for popular times. Find our classrequest form here.
Update from Acquisitions & Collections Management Librarian Margaret Gamm
Pick Yourself Up From off the Ground by Cuba. One of a kind artist’s book with acrylic graffiti paintings, 2014.
From the University Archives
Update from University Archivist David McCartney
A video paging through a 100+ year old scrapbook from a woman from the class of 1915 who attended the very first Homecoming football game.
Special Collections Instruction Librarian Amy Chen was selected to be featured as a “Bright Young Librarian” by Fine Books & Collections Magazine. Read the feature here.
From the Web and Social Media
In Case You Missed It: A Compilation of Recent Links & Posts
Blog post reporting on a research trip to Special Collections: Marbled Paper Connections by Emily Pazar. See it here.
Article about the Brinton early film collection: 100 Years Later, New Audiences Discover Legendary Outsider. See it here.
Center for the Book/Special Collections commercial that we filmed last August is finished and will air on the Big Ten Network. Article: here Video below:
“The Humanity in History”
January 8th-March 1st, 2016
Kelly Grogg, graduate student in the School of Library and Information Science and Special Collections senior Olson Graduate Assistant, has completed her capstone exhibition. It is on display now in the cases outside Special Collections on the 3rd floor.
“Every person featured in this exhibit has contributed to make the world a better place. They may not have ever reached the level of recognition they deserved, but despite their humble beginnings and oncoming obstacles, they contributed to the world in a way that cannot be measured in a ‘neatly packaged, sanitized parable’. These are the people who create history.” – Kelly Grogg
It has only been a few months into my new position as Department Liaison, and one of my major job duties is to supervise the student employees. I did not anticipate that the hardest part of this new job would be watching wonderful students graduate and leave the department.
This Fall 2015 semester, two outstanding students graduated: Zoë Webb and Mallory Price. Both students will be sorely missed, and I think I can speak for the entire department when I say, they will be hard to replace!
Zoë and Mallory reading graduation cards from the Special Collections staff.
Zoë Webb graduated this semester from the University of Iowa School of Art and Art History with a degree in Art, and finalized her undergraduate career with a BFA show titled “Don’t Stray From the Path”. Zoë’s show featured a room not only filled with her original artwork, including some impressive metal works, but it also included artistically placed trees and leaves to give the viewer the sense of walking through an ethereal forest inhabited by faeries.
Zoë began her Special Collections journey in January 2012, where she has completed a wide variety of projects in the department. She’s made spine labels, processed books, including hundreds of science-fiction paperbacks, and helped with some major shifting projects in her many years here. I will definitely miss her shared love of fandom, expert artistic skills, and knack for finding amazing things on accident.
Zoë in front of her art show.
A piece from Zoë’s show.
Mallory began working in the Special Collections department in May 2014, and during her time here has been our primary front desk student. Along with assisting patrons with numerous questions, ranging from helping them to use the scanner, to detailed research questions, Mallory has proved herself to be a huge asset in all things reference! I will miss her expertise in helping others, her positive attitude, and friendly smile!Mallory Price graduated this semester from the University of Iowa School of Music with a Bachelor’s degree in Music, with a focus on Music Therapy. An outstanding violin player, Mallory finalized her undergraduate career with a Senior Recital, playing music from Beethoven, Fritz Kreisler, and Dvořák.
Mallory playing at her Violin recital.
Mallory excited to be finished!
On behalf of the entire Special Collections and University Archives Department, we wish Zoë and Mallory the best of luck in the future!
Preservation Projects Librarian, Vitalina Nova, wrote a blog post about the League of United Latino American Citizens Council 10, both their past records and their current projects for the Iowa Women’s Archives blog.
Image on the left from LULAC Council 10 Records, IWA0733
2016 Rose Bowl a chance to make new memories: UI archivist recalls Iowa’s five previous visits to Pasadena. This month’s Old Gold column by University Archivist David McCartney was posted this week.
This 1959 Rose Bowl decal was sold by Iowa Book and Supply and donated to the university by 1976 alumnus Vernon Lustick, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Notes from the Special Collections Classroom
This week’s news from Amy Chen, Instruction Librarian
Counting up some totals at the end of the semester, Special Collections (not including the Iowa Women’s Archives) taught 119 class sessions total in the Fall 2015 Semester:
4 in August
34 in September
39 in October
28 in November
14 in December
Arrival Notifications from Margaret Gamm,
Acquisitions & Collections Management Librarian
The Descent of Mount Gadam is a new acquisition for our Charlotte Smith miniature book collection. Amos Paul Kennedy published the book in 1993 under the imprint of his Jubilee Press, which was later renamed the Jubalee Press. The text is an adaptation of a folktale of the Mensa Bet-Abrehe people of northern Ethiopia.
Special Collections Reading Room — 3rd Floor Main Library
Travel back in time to see portions of the world as documented in richly-illustrated, large books published by John Ogilby between 1649 and 1675. The books include explorations of China, Asia, Japan, Africa, America, and Britain.
Arthur Bonfield will share his extensive knowledge about the books, John Ogliby, the printer, and the cultural context in which the books were produced and used. A description of Ogilby’s methods of publishing, selling, illustrating, and distributing these expensive publications and their contents will be the focus of this talk.
This is a rare opportunity to view and closely examine these volumes, which are English translations of books published in Amsterdam by Jacob von Meurs. Ogilby’s books appear to have been produced using plates from the original Dutch books—an interesting detail about which you’ll want to hear more!
Please join us for coffee and light refreshments at 6:30 PM before the lecture at 7PM in the Reading Room of Special Collections on the 3rd Floor of the UI Main Library.
All are welcome and the lecture is free.
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.
Arthur Bonfield is a Professor at the Iowa Law School and has been collecting books published between 1490 and 1800 for 60 years. He has collected about 1,000 books printed during that period and focuses his collecting on voyages, travels, and geography; English and European history; encyclopedias and dictionaries of the arts and sciences; political philosophy; and herbals.
An oral history project from UI History Corps capturing the history of the Iowa Women’s Archives.
Notes from the Special Collections Classroom
This week’s news from Instruction Librarian Amy Chen.
On Monday and Wednesday of this week, we had students from Roy J. Carver Professor of English Ed Folsom’s Whitman and Dickinson class visit Special Collections.
Stephanie Blalock, the Digital Humanities Librarian and Associate Editor of the Whitman Archive, spoke to students about the publishing history of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass as well as his lesser-known foray into short fiction. A first edition of Leaves of Grass as well as a later signed anniversary edition of Whitman’s poetry were among the many items students viewed.
New Arrival Notifications from Acquisitions Librarian Margaret Gamm.
WAAC Scrapbook Arrives for the Iowa Women’s Archives
This photo album contains images of the American Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) at Fort Knox in 1943, and of one woman’s training period at Fort Des Moines. The WAAC was created in 1942 and converted to the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) the following year. The first contingent of 800 members of the WAAC began basic training at Fort Des Moines Provisional Army Officer Training School, Iowa. These were the first women, other than nurses, to serve with the Army.
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As 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.
Congratulations to John Fifield, Caxton Club Grant Recipient
On 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
Olson 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!
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
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
University Archivist David McCartney assisted in the production of this documentary.
Monday 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.
Staff 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). #CelebrateNVRD
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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.
Our 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
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
Our 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
The 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:
The 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.
The 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.
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
Responding 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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Amy 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.
Laura 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 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.
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.
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.
Kelly 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.
Margaret 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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