Welcome Rich Dana

We are pleased to announce Rich Dana as Special Collections and Archives’ Sackner Archive Project coordinator librarian.  

Rich Dana earned his MFA from the University of Iowa Center for the Book in 2021 and his MA from the School of Library and Information Science in 2020. He has worked as an art mover, art fabricator and art installer, and curator for a variety of New York City galleries and institutions, and has served as a freelance instructor and workshop leader for several years. He has also held various roles at Special Collections and Archives: as curatorial assistant for the Hevelin Collection, the Olson graduate research assistant, and temporary project registrar for the Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry.  

In addition to his past work with the Sackner Archive, Dana is himself a copier artist (one of his works is included in the Sackners’ collection) and independent publisher. His 2021 book Cheap Copies! describes some of the techniques used by artists in the collection, and he frequently leads workshops on copier art techniques. 

When asked what he enjoys about the Sackner Archive, Dana stated, “Because the Sackners were enthusiastic autodidacts and made personal connections to many of the artists whose work they collected, the archive has a very lively and idiosyncratic quality. It’s not only an astounding collection of visual poetry, it’s also a remarkable historical record of the movement.” 

Dana looks forward to raising awareness of this amazing resource and making the materials in the collection more accessible to patrons and researchers. We are so glad to have him on the team.  

Bringing out information in re-cataloging project

Bethany Kluender

Bethany Kluender, Special Collections Cataloging Librarian, is hard at work re-cataloging and reclassifying Special Collections’ Dewey materials, which means she is updating the existing catalog records so they have accurate descriptions, more access points, and meet current cataloging standards, especially for rare materials (DCRMB).

This process also entails reclassifying these books that use the Dewey classification system and changing them to the Library of Congress system to match the majority of Special Collections holdings. 

Many of the books are early 20th Century acquisitions and were first cataloged in the 1980s. Interesting details about provenance and binding were often not included in the original cataloging work since descriptive standards have changed over time. One rewarding part about this project has been the “detective work” of researching a bookplate or inscription from previous owners. 

For example, the following images are from a 1556 copy of Marcus Tullius Ciceroes thre bokes of duties (London: Richard Tottel). Research revealed that this book most likely belonged to a Lucy Renshaw. It is inscribed to her from her friend/travel companion Amelia B. Edwards, who was a talented writer & self-taught Egyptologist. Amelia’s grave is designated an LGBT landmark. The late 19thC leather binding also features Lucy’s monogram in silver.

All of this previously unrecorded information is now available for our students, faculty, and patrons. This project is still underway with hopefully many more fascinating things to be discovered. Be sure to follow Special Collections & Archives on social media to see updates of the project.