Archive for May, 2012


New items in our “pop-up” display case

Two events with deep ties to history take place over the next week, and you can stop in to the Special Collections & University Archives reading room now to see a piece related to each.

 On Sunday, June 3, a celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee features a procession of over 1,000 boats on the Thames river in London. While infrequent in recent history, processions on the Thames were once a popular way of commemorating public events in London. On view is the first issue of the Illustrated London News. The newspaper’s famous header image features a view of a water procession on the Thames as a part of the Lord Mayor’s Day.

On Tuesday, June 5, observers around the world will witness this century’s last transit of Venus, when the planet Venus is visible crossing the face of the sun. The transit is a rare event—the next will occur in 2117. In centuries past, the transit was an important scientific tool, as observations were gathered from different parts of the globe to determine the distance between the earth and the sun. Governments sponsored elaborate expeditions to gather observations. James Cook was sent by the Royal Academy to Tahiti to record his observations. On display is an engraving from Sydney Parkinson’s A Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas, in His Majesty’s Ship, the Endeavour from 1773, which depicts the fort from which Cook and his scientists observed the 1769 transit.


Thank You!

There is one remaining aspect to highlight in our story of the move from the basement.  That is delivering a big THANK YOU for the help we received from Carney-McNicholas Movers who took care of the last remaining extra-heavy lifting that completed the move!   


The Move Comes to an End

The busy noise of the crowds of students studying for finals has subsided but Special Collections & University Archives is peaceful not because the end of the semester has arrived but because the thunderous parade of carts has ceased. Our dedicated and cheerful crew of student workers finished the monumental task of moving the collections from the basement into newly vacated space on the third floor adjacent to the reading room. Not only are the collections now high and dry but the move united our collections on one floor making it easier and faster to retrieve items.

The students’ impressive work included replacing and dusting 3500 shelves (over 7000 total) and moving over 21,000 linear feet of material. That means that they moved the equivalent of 70 football fields or 4+ miles! Though some of the boxes weighed 40 pounds or more the weight and size of the task did not get them down as the process was filled with jokes and fun conversations.

Our gratitude goes out to everyone involved over the years from the hundreds of volunteers from across campus and the community who helped move materials before the 2008 flood and to our student workers and staff that helped with this move so that those efforts will never be necessary again. Each day as the collections continue to be used and bring joy to researchers, students, and all of us, we can all remember and be thankful for the many hands that came together who made it possible for that opportunity to continue.


New Acquisition

several tiny books chained to a stand

Here is a delightfully tiny chained “Alchemical Library” from Bo Press Miniature Books.