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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.


Special Collections News 10/14/2016




Highlights From Social Media:

This visitor has been appearing for #FridayFrights on Twitter. Follow along for the rest of October.


Libraries, museums, archives, and historical societies all over the country (including @uispeccoll) are celebrating the build up to Halloween using the hashtag #pagefrights across social media channels. Here’s a list of participating institutions: http://pagefrights.org/participating-institutions/

Here’s an example from our Instagram:

One more:

The University of Iowa has a series interviewing students and graduate student about their favorite spot on campus. One of the students chose the UI Main Library. (We’re awfully partial to the third floor).

Donate to the University Libraries’ Special Collections Fund

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Need Stress Relief? Color Our Collections

Last week the Internet was filled with coloring pages from Special Collections and archives around the country.

Here are our contributions. Print them out, color them, and tag us on social media (Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook).

Or try the hashtag #colorourcollections on your favorite site to see the endless options from other institutions around the country.

Maximillian coloring image Jeremiah coloring imageCanticum Coloring image Durer image of dragons


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Best Wishes to Our Graduating Student Workers

By Lindsay Moen, Department Liaison

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!

students reading cards

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.

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.

On behalf of the entire Special Collections and University Archives Department, we wish Zoë and Mallory the best of luck in the future!



Henry A. Wallace, Advocate for Peace and Unity of the Americas

By Jacque Roethler, Manuscripts Processing Coordinator

Black and White Image of Henry WallaceOn the 50th anniversary of his death, we remember Henry Agard Wallace, the 33rd Vice-President of the United States, who was a man well ahead of his times. An idealist who experimented to the point of dilettantism, these avocations destroyed his political career, but he would not back down from them. An example of this is his quest for religious fulfillment, which led him to Native American spiritualism, Theosophy, and an odd spiritualism espoused by Nicholas Roerich. This last arguably cost him the Vice-Presidency. Another example is his early stand on racial integration, for which he had rotten tomatoes and eggs thrown on him on a tour of the south during his run for President in 1948. He would also, during this campaign tour, not stay at any hotel which would not accommodate blacks. He proposed making ethanol in the 1930s. He openly criticized the House Committee on Un-American Activities. And he was an advocate for peace. He thought we should share our atomic secrets with the Soviet Union. Since he narrowly missed being nominated for Vice-President in 1944 and succeeding to the Presidency eighty-two days later, who knows what might have happened? Maybe we could have side-stepped the Cold War internationally and the Red Scare at home. Or maybe we would be a Soviet Republic now.

Wallace also spoke Spanish and wanted a closer relationship between the Americas. While he was Vice-President, he travelled to Latin America and endeared himself to audiences by speaking to them in their native tongue.

This combination of peace promoter and advocate for Latin American ties comes together in an extraordinary document held by the Special Collections Department at the University of Iowa.  This is a letter signed by many luminaries in the Latin American World, including Pablo Neruda and Diego Rivera.

Apparently there was a conference for peace in Mexico City September 5-10, 1949, Congresso Continental Americano por la Paz, to which Wallace was invited. This would have been in the wake of the loss of his presidential run in the 1948 election. Unfortunately, this date coincided with a meeting of the Progressive Party, which was honoring Wallace, so he could not attend the peace conference in Mexico. He conveys only regrets and a statement about world peace in a cablegram sent on September 7. Characteristically, he does not tell them that he is being honored on the third anniversary of his speech at Madison Square Garden, “The Way to Peace.” (CT: We have a copy of this speech and the cablegram sending his regrets.) A search of the internet uncovered two items. One is an image from the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers, Oregon State University Libraries, which looks like the cover of a book of bylaws for the congress.  The other item is a linocut poster announcing the conference.

A rough translation of the letters is as follows:

LetterWe are told that the main reason you could not come to our Congress for peace in Mexico is that you are to attend on the 12th of September, a ceremony in which the Progressive Party of the United States in celebrating what you have accomplished in the last three years, which continue today with their best efforts.

We deeply regret your absence because your voice is among those of the greatest fighters for peace in this time. But the message that you send us comforts and encourages us to continue the struggles that this conference has started. Along with it we have other great voices of America with us. Supporters of peace multiply every day and will not rest until every person on the continent is a being determined not to go to any war or to support imperialist groups.

We want this message to reach your hands on the very day that the Progressive Party will express to you their affection. Our membership is strong and sincere. We have always believed that you belong to the great lineage of Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt. Believe us that for us it is a very great feeling to be accompanied in our career for peace and to life by a man of moral and spiritual characters.

Receive, Mr. Wallace, the sincere greeting of your Latin American friends.

Anyone with more knowledge of this conference is encouraged to be in touch.

Jacque Roethler



The Henry A. Wallace Papers are housed in Special Collections, including digitized collections.   Learn more here.

Henry A. Wallace Papers Finding Aid


Jillian Sparks’ Report from the SHARP Conference

What follows is one final blog post from our former Olson Graduate Assistant, Jillian Sparks, who attended the SHARP conference July 7-10, 2015 to present a poster related to her cataloging work here in Special Collections.


The Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP) is an international organization dedicated to book history and print culture. SHARP describes their research focus as, “the composition, mediation, reception, survival, and transformation of written communication in material forms from marks on stone to new media. Perspectives range from the individual reader to the transnational communication network” (sharpweb.org). There are over a 1,000 members from more than 40 countries who provide a truly global perspective of book history. Due to its large international community, the conference location rotates between the Western and Eastern hemispheres each year—typically North America and Europe.

I first learned about SHARP while attending the Digital Humanities Summer Institute in 2012. Adrian van der Weel, the keynote speaker and my course instructor, highly encouraged joining SHARP if we were interested in book history. I joined the same afternoon and after three summers, I was finally able to attend the annual conference this summer in Longueil/Montreal as a master’s student poster presenter. I presented my final poster from the University of Iowa’s School of Library and Information Science program titled “Regenerating the Local Catalog: An Approach for Augmenting Bibliographic Information for Early Printed Texts.” The theme this year was “The Generation and Regeneration of Books” and was hosted by the Groupe de recherches et d’études sur le livre au Québec, the University of Sherbrooke, McGill University and the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec. The conference was truly a bilingual event with presentations in both French and English. Over 350 people traveled to Québec to participate.

Scholars from all disciplines and librarians alike attend SHARP, and the conference program reflects this diversity. I attended sessions on special collections instruction, cataloging, and pivotal collectors. “Old Books and New Tricks: Regenerating the Library Visit” has been the most helpful session on special collections instruction out of all the conferences I have attended. Gale Burrow from Claremont College presented on how to turn a one-time visit into a two part lab series that focuses on primary research in the first lab and the secondary sources in the second lab. Karla Nielsen demonstrated how Book Traces, a crowd-sourced web project aimed at identifying unique copies of 19th- and early 20th-century books on circulating library shelves, was successfully carried out at Columbia University. CLIR postdoctoral fellow at Southwestern University, Charlotte Nunes, discussed the emotional connection her students experienced while transcribing Latino oral histories and the importance of capturing the students’ oral histories on their project work. The last presenter, Amanda Watson from Yale, showed how she has collaborated with special collections to integrate technology into the class visit. All four presenters illustrated creative methods of teaching that I look forward to incorporating into my professional career.

Jillian Sparks and her poster

Jillian Sparks and her poster

Because of my interest in copy specific cataloging and in relation to my own work on cataloging 16th-century books at the University of Iowa, the panels on “Pivotal Collectors” and “Early modern Women and the Book (II): case Studies in Ownership, Circulation, and Collecting” served as interesting comparisons. In the first panel, presenters discussed the familiar issues of how to catalog and organize famous personages’ personal collections. In the second panel, speakers addressed the problem of how to find someone’s books after the collection has been separated and sold. In her presentation “Finding Frances Wolfreston in Online Public Access Catalogues: How Electronic Records Can Lead Us to Early Modern Women Readers,” Sarah Lindenbaum demonstrated how Frances Wolfreston’s unique signature as noted in various catalog records enabled her to trace the dispersion of her books. The discussion surrounded the general value of provenance notes and included mention of Provenance Online Project also known as POP.

Other presentations on embroidered bindings (Amanda Pullan) and the history of dog-earing books (Ian Gadd) were equally exciting and all of the SHARP panels appealed to my love of book history. The most fulfilling aspect of the conference was SHARP’s dedication to encouraging emerging scholars. There was a specific dinner for master’s and PhD candidate presenters. The poster session and PhD candidate papers did not conflict with other sessions, thus allowing all conference attendees to engage with their research. I personally benefited from the feedback and encouragement I received during the poster session. Most importantly, I left SHARP feeling welcome and excited to be a member of the organization and enthused about book history as a discipline.

Relevant links:

Sparks, Jillian A. Regenerating the Local Catalog: An Approach for Augmenting Bibliographic Information for Early Printed Texts http://ir.uiowa.edu/slis_student_pubs/1

Accompanying digital exhibit: http://sparks.omeka.net

SHARP’s website: http://www.sharpweb.org

SHARP 2015 conference site: http://sharp2015.ca/en/home/

Book Traces: http://www.booktraces.org/

Provenance Online Project (POP): https://provenanceonlineproject.wordpress.com/


The Individuals in History

I cannot begin to tell you how I got started working with the Sterns Family Papers.  But I can tell you that before opening those three boxes, I had a below-average interest in the civil war.  Having gone through the American public school system, I learned about the civil war at least once every school year until about the 11th grade.  It was as if each teacher was afraid that somehow, that lesson had been skipped the previous year.  While there was certainly some more information added to the lesson each year (like that dark time when we learned it was really all about the economy), the lessons surrounding the civil war largely stayed the same.  North vs. South, freedom vs. slavery, brother vs. brother.

Enter, Thomas Rescum Sterns: a real, live, Civil War soldier who fought for the Union.  Sure, he’s no Abraham Lincoln, but he was a citizen of the United States with a farm, a family, and a job, teaching the third grade in Wisconsin.  Thomas wrote letters to his wife, Lavinia Sterns, during his time as a soldier, and these are being preserved in our civil war letter collection.  When I stumbled across these letters, I became absorbed by them.  I couldn’t stop reading.  Here were letters written by someone who was experiencing the events, firsthand, that I had only read about in textbooks.  It was like watching a movie, or reading a novel about the civil war, except it was real, interesting, heart wrenching, and hilarious.

“I take the pleasure of writing a few lines to you…” is how Thomas Rescum Sterns started his lengthy series of correspondence to his wife.  Thomas wrote about the sickness he observed, and later experienced, in the camp at which he was stationed.  He wrote about the progress of the war, and how, due to his location, Lavinia probably knew more about it than he did.  But most importantly, he wrote about hardtack: that stale bit of cracker they were all subsisting on, and Thomas took it in stride, but didn’t hesitate to crack a few jokes about the civil war staple.

rescum blog“Oh! yes a few words about our fare. As I told you in my other letter our bread is principally crackers. A day or two ago Dolph had been to dinner eating crackers of course. We found one that was marked 1801 and another the date being still earlier. It being made in Nazareth B.C. 36. You may judge whether they are old and hard or not. You need not be afraid of my getting killed by the enemy’s bullets for this reason. Just before I go into battle, if such may be the case, I shall fill myself as full as possible with these crackers which of course are hard and then I shall oil my belly and of course if the bullets strike me then glance as though they had struck an ironclad gunboat” (Nov. 12, 1862).


So why should we care what Thomas Rescum Sterns thinks?  Sure, his thoughts on hardtack may not be the most historically significant, but those few lines prove that Thomas Rescum Sterns wasn’t just another statistic.  He was a real person, with real thoughts, and a very real sense of humor.

And I suppose that’s how I fell in love with this collection.  Thomas Rescum Sterns reminded me that history is about the individual.  The ability to personalize history is such an incredible opportunity provided by our collections, and it has truly reignited my interest in our past.

So if you feel like you’re in a historical rut, check out this collection, and more on the Iowa Digital Library’s website.


A display in the reading room about the life of Thomas Rescum Sterns

And if you’d like to see more about Thomas Rescum Sterns, check out our Tumblr series, or this great article written by a former head of Special Collections and University Archives.



The Detroit News Menu Cook Book



In August of 1920, a radio station under the name “8MK” was launched for The Detroit Evening News. Later named “WWJ”, it was the first radio station with daily programs. Less than a year after the station was launched, the radio show “Hints to Housewives” was created and later, “Tonight’s Dinner by Radio”. The show aired every morning, except for Sundays and holidays, and included ideas for evening meals and table service. Recipes for the dishes on the show were then published in the Women’s Pages of The Detroit News. However, many listeners and readers wanted a more permanent form of the recipes, so in 1933, The Detroit News published The Detroit News Menu Cook Book.


This cookbook includes four weeks of dinner ideas for each of the four seasons, as well as meal ideas for a few major holidays, like Christmas and Thanksgiving. There is a wide variety in the menus included, from “Meat Loaf with Scalloped Potatoes and Mashed Turnips”, to “Calf Hearts with Onions and Parsley Potatoes”. The book even includes a recipe for “Baby Porcupines”, which do not actually contain any porcupine, but appear to be meatballs rolled in rice. Everything from Brussel sprouts to apple soufflé can be found in this book. In the back of the book is a section titled “CleaningHints”, which includes suggestions for removing stains from clothes, removing mildew spots, and even how to clean oil paintings.
Even though it is over eighty years old, this adorable purple with white polka dot cookbook could be found useful today.





Colleen Theisen honored as a “Mover and Shaker” by Library Journal

NEWS RELEASE : 03/15/2015


(Iowa City) Colleen Theisen of The University of Iowa Libraries has been named a “Mover and Shaker” in the library industry by the national publication, Library Journal. In its March 15, 2015 issue, Library Journal named 50 outstanding individuals–and for the first time, one organization–whose efforts have not only expanded the services libraries provide but who are transforming libraries themselves in the 21st century. Colleen was selected because of her commitment to the profession and her efforts to transform how library outreach and how we learn about, and interact with, the unique primary source collections in academic libraries. Colleen currently serves The University of Iowa Libraries as Special Collections Outreach and Instruction Librarian as part of Special Collections & University Archives.

Library Journal honored Colleen because of her innovative work connecting communities on campus and online to rare books and historic documents through social media, online video, and in the classroom. “LJ’s newest class of Movers & Shakers proves once again that the library arena is rich with innovation driven by mission-focus,” said Rebecca T. Miller, Group Editor, Library Journal and School Library Journal. “Those identified come from across the library universe and beyond, and they are each transforming how libraries connect with and enrich their communities. We congratulate them, and look forward to seeing their ongoing contributions multiply.”

Colleen is from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and graduated from Regis High School before completing her BA in Art History & Archaeology at the University of Missouri-Columbia.  She followed her degree with a teaching certificate for secondary art education at Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa, before completing her Masters of Science in Information specializing in Archives and Records Management at the University of Michigan in 2011.  She has worked as Outreach and Instruction librarian at the University of Iowa for more than three years.

The 2015 Movers & Shakers were selected by the editors of Library Journal, the profession’s leading trade magazine. Each of the Movers & Shakers will be prominently featured in the March 15th issue of Library Journal and celebrated at a special luncheon in June during the American Library Association’s annual conference in San Francisco, CA. The print feature’s companion website is sponsored by OCLC and Boopsie, and it is available at www.libraryjournal.com/movers2015. The luncheon and awards ceremony is made possible by the support of sponsors, including Baker and Taylor, Demco, Mission Bell Media, OCLC, Plata Publishing, Rosen Publishing and Sage.

Read more about new inductees at www.libraryjournal.com/movers2015


About University of Iowa Libraries

The University of Iowa Libraries provides leadership in the creation, transmission, and preservation of knowledge to advance intellectual discovery and encourage lifelong learning. With print and digital collections that are richly diverse and deeply comprehensive, the Libraries also offers state-of-the-art resources that enhance teaching and learning on campus and beyond. In partnership with the teaching faculty, the Libraries offers a variety of information literacy and course-related instructional programs designed to develop these critical skills in students in all disciplines. The Libraries is the largest library system in Iowa and ranks 14th among materials expenditures among U.S. public research libraries. University Libraries is proud of its role as the foundation on which the University of Iowa’s academic and research programs rest.


Founded in 1876, Library Journal is one of the oldest and most respected publications covering the library field. Over 75,000 library directors, administrators, and staff in public, academic, and special libraries read LJ. Library Journal reviews over 8000 books, audiobooks, videos, databases, and web sites annually, and provides coverage of technology, management, policy, and other professional concerns. For more information, visit www.libraryjournal.com. Library Journal is a publication of Media Source Inc., which also owns School Library Journal, The Horn Book publications, and Junior Library Guild.


Looking for Love in the Library

Have you been searching for a good book with which to spend Valentine’s Day?  Want to use your card game skills to attract a mate?  Looking for a rare book to discuss over dinner with that special someone?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you should stop by the UI Main Library this week to check out some of our Valentine’s Day events!

Pants 4 U "My heart pants 4 U," August 1, 1907

Pants 4 U
“My heart pants 4 U,” August 1, 1907

Play with Hearts–Tuesday, February 10th


Come to Group Area D (across from Food for Thought Café) to learn how to play the game, Hearts.  You can also enjoy some vintage baked goods made from recipes from special collections’ historic recipe collection.  There will even be recipes available for you to plan your own Valentine’s meal!

Blind Date with a Book–Wednesday, February 11th


Stop by Group Area D to check out a book.  But this time, there will be no judging by the cover.  We’ll set you up with a blind date that you get to take home with you for some Valentine’s reading.  A Spinster’s Tale or Love in the Time of Cholera: Which one will you take home tonight?

Love in the Stacks—Thursday, February 12th


Drop into Group Area D and we’ll help you out with some Valentine’s gifts!  View items from the University of Iowa Special Collections and University Archives while you make buttons from prints of our more romantic books, or send an e-card  to your loved ones.


You never know where love will find you, but you do know where to find us.  We’ll see you in Group Area D!