The Large Glass finds a home in the International Dada Archive

The following is written by International Dada Curator Timothy Shipe. 

Curator Tim Shipe opens up The Large Glass and Related Works for the first time

The latest major acquisition for the International Dada Archive is The Large Glass and Related Works (1967-1968), an impressive collaboration between artist Marcel Duchamp and the Egyptian-born Italian writer and gallery owner Arturo Schwarz. The magnificent set of two large portfolios contains a monograph by Schwarz on Duchamp’s unfinished masterpiece, The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (known as the “Large Glass”), housed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It is accompanied by an extensive set of facsimiles of Duchamp’s preparatory notes for the “Large Glass,” one of several similar sets of notes the artist published during his lifetime (including the famous “Green Box,” the most precious treasure of the Dada Archive).

But what makes The Large Glass and Related Works most special is the two sets of nine original etchings by Duchamp designed especially for this edition. These are among the last art works by Duchamp, who died in 1968. The first set, titled simply “The Large Glass,” consists mainly of depictions of individual elements taken from that complex work, along with a diagram of what the Glass would have looked like had it been completed.

Facsimiles of Duchamp’s notes

The second set of etchings, titled “The Lovers,” is a set of erotic drawings largely based on classic works of art. According to Schwarz, these were intended as a sort of sequel to the “Large Glass,” depicting the consummation of the frustrated love affair between the “bachelors” and the “bride.” One of these, based on Lucas Cranach’s famous depiction of Adam and Eve, is, in a sense, a self-portrait of Duchamp, since it replicates a well-known Man Ray photograph of a 1924 stage performance in which a nude Duchamp and Brogna Perlmutter imitate the scene in Cranach’s painting.

The Large Glass and Related Works was formerly part of the Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry but was deaccessioned before that collection came to Iowa. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to purchase this important work for the Dada Archive, where it will complement the other major Duchamp items that are frequently used in classes in Art History and other fields.

*Photos taken by Lindsay Moen

Szathmary inspiration for the perfect slice of pie

Our Archives Assistant Denise Anderson explored the Szathmary collection to create the perfect cherry pie. Below is the recipe, along with Denise’s step-by-step guide on what she did to create what is sure to be the best dessert at your next Thanksgiving. 
 
 
 
Time to make a Betty Crocker fresh fruit (in this case cherry) pie recipe, found on page 10 in All About Pie from the Szathmary Recipe Pamphlets collection
 
The original recipe, pictured above calls for the following ingredients for a 9″ pie: 
*1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar
*1/3 cup GOLD MEDAL Flour 
*1/2 tsp. cinnamon
*4 cups fresh fruit (cherries)
*1 tbsp. butter
*Pastry for 9″ two-crust Pie
 
Taking this base recipe, I have made a few adjustments to make the perfect pie (which you see below). 
 
I like the look of an ample pie, so I used a nine-inch, glass, deep-dish pie pan and I increased the 4 cups of fruit called for to 6 1/2 cups, which then required adjustments to the other ingredients; adjustments provided below.
 
Frozen tart cherries are also available, but if you use fresh cherries, which are ripe around the Fourth of July, you will wash, sort out blemishes and remove the stones.  Preserve the juice in a separate measuring cup. 
 
In a pan on the stovetop, combine 3/4 cup cherry juice, 5 T. small pearl tapioca, 2 1/2 cups sugar, 2 T. water, 1 T. fresh lemon juice, 1/2 t. almond extract.  Cook and stir this on medium-low heat until it thickens, and then boil it for one minute.  Remove from heat and set it aside for 15 minutes.  Tapioca can be difficult to locate on grocer’s shelves. You might have better luck finding quick cooking tapioca granules at a natural grocers. 

My grandmother Sylvia taught me to make pie crust using the Crisco Single Crust recipe printed on the label.  This recipe is included in Crisco’s American Pie Celebration, from the Szathmary Recipe Pamphlets collection.  Because I have a penchant for oversized pies, I tripled the recipe and cut the dough in half for top and bottom crusts, ensuring there was no difficulty rolling the dough to fit.

From Crisco’s American Pie Celebration
Crisco Single Crust recipe:
Combine 1 1/3 cups flour and 1/2 t. salt.
With a pastry cutter, work 1/2 cup Crisco into the mix evenly.
Sprinkle in 3 T. water, not all in one spot, and mix it in.
 
Roll the dough into a ball and then evenly flatten it a bit in your hands until it is a thick disk.  Sprinkle flour onto your countertop or pastry cloth and smooth it around in a circle with your palm.  Gradually roll the dough into a circle using a rolling pin, working from the center outward in different directions until you reach a size that is two inches larger than your pie pan if it were placed on top of the dough upside down.  As you roll, sprinkle more flour onto the dough if it begins to stick.  Gently drape one half of the dough circle over the other half, and then again (quartered) so it may be easily picked up and positioned in the pie pan.  Now follow these steps with the top crust, and when it is draped into a quarter, cut slits through the crust for ventilation.  Set the quartered top crust aside for a moment, still folded.
 
Pour the cherries into the bottom crust, and then pour in the thickened cherry juice.  Dot the top of the cherries with 2 T. of butter cut into small pieces.  With a coffee cup of water next to the pie, dip your fingers into the water and run them along the rim of the bottom crust until you have dampened the entire rim, leaving the excess dough hanging over the sides.  This moisture will help seal the two crusts together.  Place the quartered top crust in place, and gently unfold it to cover half, and then the whole pie.  Excess crust from both the top and the bottom are draped over the rim.  With your thumb and index finger, work around the rim, pinching the dough slightly to build up the rim and make an interesting design.  Use a knife to trim off the excess dough, cutting below the fluted edge.
 
Cut 3 or 4 strips of aluminum foil to wrap loosely around the rim of the pie, so it won’t burn.  Overlap the pieces of foil and crimp them together a bit with your fingers to hold them together, without pressing into the dough.  Line the bottom of the oven with aluminum foil before preheating to 425 degrees.  Bake for one hour on the center rack, removing the foil strips after 45 minutes.
 

Political Cartoons: A “Darling” Reminder to Vote

The following post comes from Olson Graduate Assistant Rachel Miller-Haughton.

Political cartoons are more fraught and relevant today than ever. The New York Times ended their political cartoons in July 2019, after they pulled an image that was widely perceived as anti-Semitic. Other publications have gone the same way in order to be perceived as more serious, or less controversial. At the same time, cartoonists and their supporters write about the loss of the visual medium. Patrick Chappatte, a New York Times political cartoonist, says, “Political cartoons were born with democracy. And they are challenged when freedom is.” No matter whether you like them or not, the impact of political cartoons cannot be denied. The most extreme example of this in recent memory are the attacks on the offices and contributors to French magazine Charlie Hebdo in response to their portrayal of Islamic prophet Muhammad. The response to a political cartoon, and subsequent conversations over free speech, is something that has colored our understanding of what they look like. 

Almost 100 years ago, a cartoonist was illustrating his view of the current election. Jay N. “Ding” Darling was a cartoonist who spent much of his life in Sioux City, Iowa, and spent most of his career at the Des Moines Register. Born in 1876, he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1924 and 1942. He was disillusioned with many of the political groups he worked with, but his life’s passion was wildlife conservation. The University of Iowa Libraries now holds many of his works. The “Ding” Darling Papers in Special Collections are a large group of the political cartoons the artist was best known for, as well as other art forms he created over the span of his life. Two images from the 1924 election stand out, even today. That year, Calvin Coolidge, the Republican candidate, won, helped by a divide in the Democratic party where many liberal Democrats left the party and backed third-party Wisconsin Senator, throwing the majority of the rest of the votes to Coolidge. A three-party election with a divided majority party was highly contentious

“The citizens will soon go forth and vote their calm, dispassionate judgement. [also titled] the citizens will now go forth and vote their calm, dispassionate judgement” by Ding Darling, 1924
The first image is captioned, “The citizens will now go forth and vote their calm, dispassionate judgement.” It features two voters clutching their ballot, pursued by huge ballooning figures carrying signs saying, “campaign lies,” “beware of chaos!” and “the government is run by a bunch of crooks,” among others. Anyone who has spent a few minutes watching TV, or on social media, has been blasted by similar messages around the 2020 election. Darling shows us that voters in the early 1900s were obviously feeling a similar strain, albeit with different names (“red peril” from the newly formed Soviet Union is reflected now as Russian cyber agitation)

 

“It`s a wonder there aren`t more serious accidents” by Ding Darling, 1924

 

The second cartoon, also from 1924, says “It’s a wonder there aren’t more serious accidents” and is commentary about nonvoters. Meant to either galvanize or shame “non voting voters” to be more like “the small percent who take their voting duty seriously,” it is certainly interesting to reflect on today. Already, the 2020 voter turnout is breaking records. Darling hoped this piece would encourage those who were able, and had the right, to vote, while also telling those who didn’t they don’t get to complain about “the gov’t machinery.” This may have been his way of encouraging participation in democracy. 

The 2020 election is weighing on all our minds as Americans. Looking in Special Collections, it is almost comforting (albeit frustrating) to look back at history and know this is not the first time we’ve felt bombarded by groups telling us how to vote. Political cartoons have always done a good job of showing us what is important, and cutting through the noise of words with a single image. Who we listen to is up to us. But the importance of voting, although portrayed in a humorous manner by Darling, is no less pressing today than it was in 1924. 


For more information on “Ding” Darling, check out the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society

Fading Forms of Communication: Uncovering Civil War Stories from Anson Butler

The following is written by Erik Henderson, Graduate Assistant for Iowa Women’s Archives

As we have moved into the digital age, the value of handwritten letters has seemingly faded. Archival repositories nationwide are composed of letters because they once encompassed the most influential and sometimes most intimate moments experienced by their authors. Preserving history allows for people in the 21st century to understand the values, norms, and perspectives of life before them. In an era of prompt communication through smartphones and social media, could we imagine what it would be like waiting weeks, or even months, to hear from loved ones?

The Nashville, the floating hospital ship

Within the UI Special Collections are the letters of Anson Rood Butler, which transport readers to the Civil War era. Consisting of items dating from 1862 to 1900, this collection is primarily correspondence between Butler and his wife, Harriet Saunders. The letters, all transcribed on Iowa Digital Library and DIY History, describe his time aboard the Nashville, a “floating hospital,” traveling through the south: where he served as the third sergeant of the 26th Iowa Infantry Regiment. The 26th Iowa Infantry, organized in Clinton, Iowa, consisted of Black and White soldiers that mustered in three years of Federal service and were a part of the 3rd brigade, 1st division, XV Corps.

For the Black soldiers of the 26th Iowa Infantry, they battled against their white peers in efforts for them to recognize their worth regardless of their status or the obstacles they faced such as deteriorating weapons. Butler writes to his wife, “I want the people to know that Gov Baker of Iowa armed us with old muskets not worth a cuss & he knew it & then reported us as fully armed to General Curtis, who as soon as he found out the matter, gave us good ones & no thanks to Baker”(Butler papers, 10-28-1862, pg 2). Although this integrated brigade was ill-equipped for victory, they prevailed. Black soldiers fought with a sense of pride for their country, for their freedom and for the dignity of basic liberties that had been denied them for too long.

The American Battlefield Trust, a charitable organization that primarily focuses on the preservation of battlefields from the American Civil War, the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, details events leading up to and resulting from the Battle of Milliken’s Bend. Included is an excerpt from their description of the battle, which works to give setting to Butler’s letters:

In late May, 1863, as his Army of the Tennessee encircled the strategic Mississippi River town of Vicksburg, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant established advanced supply bases on the Yazoo River north of the city to feed his army…At the latter, several newly-recruited black regiments were posted to defend the facilities. Confederates, seeking to disrupt Grant’s supply lines, developed plans to attack the bases on the west side of the river. On June 7, the Texas Division under Maj. Gen. John G. Walker attacked the garrison at Milliken’s Bend…Lieb’s former slaves, with little training, fought valiantly against their attackers…Although a small battle, the result proved that Black Union soldiers would fight hard for their freedom.

In historiography, this battle is often overlooked because of the large presence of Black Union soldiers. However, this battle, fought by Butler and his comrades, proved to be a significant victory for the Union army, revealing the resilient nature of disparately supported Black soldiers. Throughout his letters, Butler delivers detailed play by play of what was happening around him; he was observing and living history, then sharing it with his wife through his letters home. In some instances, he was not able to write back to his wife for weeks in between. The uncertainty of the status of his life and the patience to wait for these letters, brings value to them and their inside knowledge of the battles. As he gets closer to the Battle of Milliken’s Bend, Butler shares specific tasks he and others had to do in order to survive:

Every team from 4 to 6 Infantry riding in the wagon in full shooting and [livery] as a part of the guard for them, which opposite our camp they halted and waited a few moments when some 200 cavalry came thundering down the road and past all the teams till out ahead (they were the rest of the guard) then the command “forward march” came. Whips cracked and all started off on a gallop… They came back the next day with 90 loads of corn, potatoes (sweet) etc. gathered from the Secesh. Such is war. Killing and robbing go hand in hand and can’t be helped.

War can often highlight the corruption within governments and military officials. Butler creates a space to reflect on humanity’s values through his letters to his wife and remember those who cared for him before taking on his military duties. Within one of his letters, he reflects on the times he once enjoyed with his own wife and children:

The Chaplain’s wife was along with a baby. I heard it cry one night after I lay down & up I jumped and got after the baby I tell you it made me think of home & when I left I dreamed of you & our baby what may become of me I can’t say but I’ll keep you & the children stowed away in a snug corner of my heart, till I wake (if I do) in the unknown hereafter.

 

Photo of Anson Butler

In this intimate moment, Butler gives us a full view of the isolation from and nostalgia for his family that occurs within the military and during war. In a later letter to his daughter and wife, Butler expresses deep emotions that often contradict the killing and robbing mentality needed for survival during war. Instead, he shows a more sensitive and intimate side, pleading, “write again Ida, Pa reads your little letters with tears in his Eyes & you know it does me good to cry once in a while.”

 

Digging into the letters of the Anson Butler papers, one uncovers the world of a soldier who depicts firsthand accounts of the brutality of the Civil War. He retraces the difficult journeys, both mental and physical, that coincide with surviving in a deadly war. Through personal letters we can observe day-to-day life during wartime, reading the thoughts and wishes soldiers felt most critical to impart on loved ones waiting back home. On the other hand, sharing experiences through letters can ease pressure off soldiers, knowing that someone is listening to what you are going through. Having the ability to personally share through letters about one’s experience, whether in war, during a transition into higher education, or after one’s first day on the job, is not only refreshing, heart breaking, and stress relieving, but it allows for in depth and personal conversations between you and the recipient, wherever you are.

 

Information about Anson Butler and Milliken’s Bend come from these resources: 

Ancestry Library

Overview of Milliken’s Bend on American Battlefield Trust 

University of Iowa’s DIY History, Anson R. Butler Letters 1861-1900

 

Images from Iowa Digital Library

Butler, who served as mayor of Dewitt, IA, made this Proclamation to observe the death of President Lincoln on April 19th, 1865

 

From the Classroom- Steal This Zine!

“From the Classroom” is a series that features some of the great work and research from students who visit our collections. Below is a blog by Jacob Roosa from Dr. Jennifer Burek Pierce’s class “History of Readers and Reading” (SLIS:5600:0EXW)

Against Prisons Zine by Catherine Baker

Steal This Zine!

By Jacob Roosa

No, really, steal this zine. 

Note the “anti-copyright” message on the inside page

Examples of anti-copyright notices abound in the history of anarchist publishing, and Catherine Baker’s Against Prisons (Firestarter Press, n.d.) from the Special Collections’ Public Space ONE (PS1) zine collection is no exception. Mixing political statement with political practice, this notice and many others like it permit any reader to take “every text, every picture, every sound” from the book to use how they wish. Not only does this ease the distribution and reproduction of these pamphlets and zines, it gives the reader a space to consider the history of copyright in the U.S. and recognize the possibility of a publishing space outside its bounds.

This zine preaches what it practices, asking the reader to journey outside the U.S.’s deep, centuries-long commitment to prisons to imagine life in which people are not forced to surrender their capacity to resolve interpersonal conflict and violence. Baker, a prison abolitionist, interrogates the way in which our justice system, and really our conception of objective Justice, determines the guilt or innocence of an individual on our behalf. They argue that we are constructed entirely as “murderer, journalist, woman, bandit, child, etc…” by this process, abstracted to the point where we have no agency in how we conceive of ourselves or others. For Baker, the point of rejecting this process is to recognize how it denies all of us, in and outside of prisons, the space to reckon with our lives and our relationships to other people.

“We do not want isolation; this goes without saying, otherwise what would we be doing here? We want to think with others about ways of living with others outside pre-existing systems.”

If this kind of thinking with others interests you, the PS1 zine collection has you covered! Donated in 2010 by the folks at Iowa City’s own Public Space ONE, this three-box collection contains around 200 zines, pamphlets, journals, and books, covering topics from anarchism to anti-capitalism, bike repair, youth activism, prisoners’ experiences, feminist theory and practice, race and anti-authoritarianism, and histories of U.S. imperialism, among others. Some of these materials were made with the intention of being freely distributed, and, much like Baker’s text, some actively encouraged readers to reproduce and proliferate their text. Copyright law in the U.S. is very complex and tricky, so always be sure to research whether or not you’re safe to reproduce, manipulate, or distribute any given material before you do so, as it is your legal responsibility (for more information on the University of Iowa Special Collections’ rights, permissions, and copyright policies, please visit their website or contact a librarian). Zines like Against Prisons are invested in educating readers about the histories of familiar institutions, so discover more at Special Collections!