If you’re like me, then you haven’t really given them much thought. Growing up in pre-Google days, my family owned a 1988 set that was used and abused by my siblings and I, for both school reports and building forts, and they proved a go-to for school projects and reports in those early years of my education. However, I was more concerned about the information contained within these volumes that I never thought about these encyclopedias as an object in themselves.
On February 13th, Iowa Bibliophiles will finally give you and me the chance to take a moment to appreciate the encyclopedia as an object. Professor Emeritus Arthur Bonfield will be giving his talk “Development of the Eighteenth Century English Encyclopedia or Dictionary of the Arts and Sciences,” exploring not only the history of the English encyclopedia, but also examining early Latin and French encyclopedias that preceded the 18th century English publications.
Professor Emeritus Bonfield has been collecting rare books for over 60 years now. His collections includes over 1,000 original copies of books from early printing days, including volumes on exploration, geography, English literature and history, and of course encyclopedias.
Encyclopedias might seem like an uncommon topic to collect, but as Rebecca Romney and J.P. Romeny explain in their book Printer’s Error: Irreverent Stories from Book History,
“The ability to organize information and distribute it to the public is an incredibly powerful tool…to prioritize information is to control information. And to control information is to control people.” (Romeny 90)
Please join Special Collections and Iowa Bibliophiles on February 13th to hear a fascinating talk about something so many of us take for granted with Professor Bonfield.
Event starts at 7pm in the Special Collection’s Reading Room (3rd floor of the Main Library), with refreshments served at 6:30pm. Find out more on our Facebook event or on the UI Event Calendar.
Below is a reflection from Micaela Terronez, Olson Graduate Assistant, on the “Manuscripts at Special Collections” open houses.
Can I really touch it?
One curious visitor asked this question in amazement as they gazed at one of the twenty-one visiting manuscripts from Les Enluminures, a gallery of unique text manuscripts with locations in New York, Paris, and Chicago. As a part of the program, “Manuscripts in the Curriculum,” Les Enluminures temporarily loans a select group of unique manuscripts to educational institutions. Fortunately, The University of Iowa Libraries’ Special Collections was able to host the manuscripts, covering various contexts and locations from the 13th to the 19th century. In addition to classroom integration, Special Collections planned a series of open houses for the University and broader community to have hands-on experience engaging with these one-of-a-kind pieces. From August to November, around 200 visitors viewed the visiting manuscripts—along with a couple favorites from our own collections.
Logistically speaking, each open house exhibited 10 to 12 manuscripts aligned with a pre-decided theme. The themes included: Signs of Production, Decoration and Illumination, Script and Scribe, Manuscripts Outside Latin West, Medieval Society, Vernacular Texts, Music, Medieval Authors, and Bestsellers. This diverse set of themes allowed us to highlight certain texts each week without exhausting the materials or the visitors. The open houses were marketed through classroom instructions, social media, departmental networking, events, newsletters, and blogs. These efforts garnered an audience of students, scholars, and outside community members of various ages and backgrounds.
At the open houses, guests were given brief guidelines to handling the manuscripts and were encouraged to turn the leaves by the margins. Like the curious visitor above, many could not believe that they could touch, let alone, move through the leaves of a codex to see every script and image. However, in cases with a large number of visitors, guests were advised to admire the manuscripts without touching as to protect the longevity and structure of the manuscript. During these events, special precautions were taken to make sure the manuscripts were handled carefully, while also allowing the viewer to engage and ask questions. Non-flash photographs were highly encouraged, and many patrons took away some amazing captures to keep and share with friends and family. We also offered an interactive matching game of medieval authors, temporary tattoos, buttons, and bookmarks for visitors to take home.
Because of an increase in public visitors, the fall semester was a whirlwind of planning, marketing, curation, learning, and teaching. For example, Elizabeth Riordan (Outreach and Engagement Librarian) and I created specially made description cards for each manuscript on display—that’s a lot of writing and research! The description cards served two purposes. First, it was the perfect way for us to learn more about the visiting manuscripts, along with the interesting details and histories. This knowledge proved highly valuable during open houses and classes. Secondly, visitors were able to easily understand the terminology, history, production, and uses of the items exhibited. These descriptions also helped to spur questions and discussions throughout the weeks. Riordan and I also enjoyed choosing manuscripts from our own collections to feature alongside the visiting manuscripts. In this way, we were both able to think more contextually about the manuscripts from Iowa and what themes can be highlighted throughout them. In addition to our visitors, we both walked away from the open houses more knowledgeable about medieval manuscripts, their features, and histories.
There were several other benefits and take-aways from these open houses. Perhaps most importantly, we learned a great deal about the value of increasing access and visibility of the manuscripts through hands-on exploration. Patrons made incredible observations about the texts, while also initiating fruitful discussions amongst themselves and with staff. They also inquired about the contexts, materiality, users, producers, and authors. More so, visitors were able to actually feel the hair of the parchment, translate scripts, study the bindings, and so much more! With calm medieval chants playing in the background, many also took the events as an opportunity to relax and purely admire the artistry behind the texts. I would say friendships and interactions were created among these beautiful works, an effect that perhaps wouldn’t have happened without the hands-on experience with the manuscripts.
The open house series ended with one last exhibit, as well as a visit and talk titled “People and the Book: the Voices of Manuscripts from the Middle Ages” from Laura Light of Les Enluminures. These final events allowed visitors to ask intriguing questions about the visiting manuscripts from Light, an expert historian on medieval works. As November comes to a close, it is now time to say goodbye to these works. I, for one, am going to miss the manuscripts very much. Here are a couple of photographs from my favorite visiting manuscript, a “Roll of Arms” created during the Elizabethan period in England. The manuscript features stunningly detailed shields, illustrated crowns, and stylized arms shaking hands to signify marriage. Like myself, I am sure many visitors appreciated the work and talent that went into these lovely pieces.
The successful planning and implementation of the open houses was a team effort of the library and conservation staff, and we were incredibly grateful for the opportunity to engage with the community, students, and faculty during these open houses. Thank you to all that visited Special Collections, asked questions, and made us ponder the creation and use of these manuscripts. We hope you continue to visit us in the future, whether it is for research, exploration, or just admiring a cool book or leaf.
Driving along Highway 77, there is a small sign indicating the way to Rubio, Iowa. I nearly miss it, but catch the sign in time to make a sharp turn down what looks to be the main road in this town of 35 people. I pull into Carroll Steinbeck’s driveway. He’s waiting for me, announcing that I have, indeed, found the right spot.
Carroll, who will be 95-years-old this November, was born and raised in Rubio, the house he grew up in just across the street from his current home. Familiar with small town Iowa myself, I can see Carroll’s pride in his hometown. The first time he left home was to study at the University of Iowa, followed shortly to fight in WWII.
He ushers me into his home, and we sit down at his dining room table. Carroll has laid out a few pictures of him in uniform from the 1940s for us to look at. While WWII ended 63 years ago, Carroll is still able to recall memories from those days with utter clarity. He joined the army after his sophomore year at the University of Iowa, entering the 66th Division as a mortar gunner. Carroll landed in England on his 21st birthday.
While Carroll had several stories to share about his time at war, what I loved hearing the most was his love story, something that doesn’t seem to match our images of war. Carroll came home to Rubio before shipping off to Europe. While home he went on a picnic with friends and met Evelyn, who was studying to be a nurse and also home for a short time before leaving for more training. With a grin, Carroll tells me he had one date with his future wife, but that was all that was needed. They started corresponding while he was overseas, their letters now part of the Stories Worth Telling exhibit. When he realized he was likely to come home safe, he sent Evelyn a proposal from France, and she said yes. Carroll still gripes that he had to wait 20 whole days after coming back home to marry her. Just one date lead to 56 years of marriage.
On November 2nd, the University of Iowa is fortunate enough to have Carroll Steinbeck come share his stories with us starting at 2pm in Shambaugh Auditorium at the Main Library. From 3pm to 3:30, there will be a tour of the exhibition Stories Worth Telling: Marking 20 Years of the Greatest Generation with curator, Elizabeth Riordan, and Head of Special Collections Margaret Gamm. This event is free and open to everyone. Come share these stories with us.
With the new school year beginning, Special Collections has brought in 21 new manuscripts for the fall semester for professors, students, and enthusiasts to enjoy and learn from.
These manuscripts are on loan from Les Enluminures, a company with locations in Paris, New York and Chicago. Les Enluminures was created to offer a large and wide-ranging inventory of text manuscripts on the market. They developed a program that allows educational institutes in North America to borrow some manuscripts, giving more people the opportunity to see these wonderful books. The program is called “Manuscripts in the Curriculum.”
Some institutions do not have a collection of manuscripts for students to learn from and use as primary sources in their papers. Even though we are fortunate to have a Medieval Manuscript collection already, by acquiring these on loan for the semester, we are allowing students to gain a broader understanding of the Middle Ages and to experience something new.
Special Collections will be welcoming the manuscripts to their collection for the Fall 2018 Semester, arriving on August 27th and leaving mid November.
The manuscripts were written throughout Europe from the 13th century to the 19th century, and each manuscript has a diverse subject including the lives of the saints, school books, humanism, liturgy and canon law.
One of the manuscripts, Lotario Dei Segni’s De miseria humanae conditionis (On the Misery of the Human Condition), has been cited by famous authors, including Chaucer and Christine de Pizan. This medieval manuscript is a reflection on the Middle Ages.
Saint Benedict’s Regula sancti Benedicti and Saint Augustine’s Regula sancti Augustini episcopi are pocket-sized manuscripts containing foundation documents of early Western monasticism. Even though monks were not allowed any personal property of their own, there is still evidence that a Benedictine monk or abbot had owned the manuscript in the 15th century.
Along with these manuscripts, there may be some that have missing leaves. However, those missing leaves add more to the story than if they were still bound with the manuscript.
An incomplete Noted Choir Psalter and Hymnal is bound out of order and is missing numerous leaves; however, it still represents the opportunity to acquire a liturgical manuscript from Northern Italy.
There is so much to learn from these manuscripts, and we hope you can come in and enjoy them. In addition to the manuscripts coming to Special Collections for classroom use, every Tuesday from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 28- Nov. 13, we will showcase a few manuscripts during our open houses.
Hear Kären Mason, curator of the Iowa Women’s Archives (at the University of Iowa Libraries) reflect on the significance of 6-on-6 high-school girls’ basketball, drawing on rich personal narratives from Iowa Women’s Archives collections. For most of the 20th century, the state of Iowa was nationally known for its devotion to a unique form of women’s sport known as 6-on-6 girls’ basketball. As other states abandoned 6-on-6, Iowa remained steadfast in its commitment until the state’s final 6-player championship in 1993, where Hubbard-Radcliffe prevailed over Atlantic, 85-66. The year 2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the end of 6-on-6 girls’ basketball in Iowa.
Free to attend. Registration required.
Invisible Hawkeyes – African American pathfinders & tastemakers, 1930-1970
By looking at the University of Iowa and a smaller Midwestern college town like Iowa City, this book reveals how fraught moments of interracial collaboration, meritocratic advancement, and institutional insensitivity deepen our understanding of America’s painful conversation into a diverse republic committed to racial equality.
An exhibition co-curated by all the student employees in Special Collections. Their work processing collections, shelving books, providing references services, and teaching in our classroom brings the most beautiful, bizarre, profound, and silly historic items to their attention and each person provided a favorite item that you’re bound to love.
Where: Special Collections on the 3rd floor of the Main Library.
When: 8:30AM-5:00P M, W-F and 8:30AM-7PM on Tuesdays.
What gems are preserved inside of Iowa City’s libraries, museums, and archives?
At the area’s first-ever archives crawl, visitors can snoop in between the pages of historic diaries, read other people’s mail, hold feathers and fossils, and peer into mysteries revealed by historic artifacts like swords and locks of hair kept in remembrance.
All events are free and open to the public!
Between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm, the following sites will be open to the public. Each will offer tours, demonstrations, and short talks by experts (see specific times at archivesagainstamnesia.com/archives-crawl). Start your crawl at any of these sites, where you can pick up an archives crawl “passport” and map. Bring your fully stamped passport to any site for a prize!
University of Iowa Main Library, 125 W. Washington St.
University of Iowa Museum of Natural History, Macbride Hall, 17 N. Clinton St.
Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St.
State Historical Society of Iowa Research Center, 402 Iowa Ave.
All four sites will be open to visitors between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
The Iowa City Archives Crawl will occur prior to the 2018 Provost’s Global Forum and Obermann Humanities Symposium, Against Amnesia: Archives, Evidence, and Social Justice.
Free and open to the public.
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 Colleen Theisen in advance at 319-335-5923.
Raymond Mentzer, Daniel J. Krumm Family Chair in Reformation Studies in the Department of Religious Studies, and Greg Prickman, Head of Special Collections will present about books and the Reformation during the 500th Anniversary Year. A selection of related books will be on display. Read more.
William Anthony Conservation Lecture—Mark Esser “Bookbinding Has Been Very Good to Me”
Thursday, October 12th. Light refreshments at 6pm. Talk at 6:30PM.
E105 Adler Journalism Building
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 Colleen Theisen in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-335-5923.
Tim Shipe has published an article on the Dada Archive in Romania’s leading art magazine, Revista ARTA. Entitled “Serving Dada Scholarship: The International Dada Archive at the University of Iowa,“ the article appeared in issue # 26/27 (2017).
The documentary Saving Brinton premieres tonight, Friday, September 29, at Film Scene in Iowa City. Read more.
The Reformation and Books – 500 Years Later
Wednesday, October 11 at 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Raymond Mentzer, Daniel J. Krumm Family Chair in Reformation Studies in the Department of Religious Studies, and Greg Prickman, Head of Special Collections will present about books and the Reformation during the 500th Anniversary Year. A selection of related books will be on display.
Curator of Science Fiction and Popular Culture, Peter Balestrieri, and Outreach and Engagement Librarian Colleen Theisen will be at ICON in Cedar Rapids this weekend speaking on panels and with a table in the dealer’s room. Once again this year the generous fan community has chosen the Rusty Hevelin Collection at the Special Collections at the University of Iowa Library as the recipient of all of the money raised at the charity auction to support the continued digitization and work on Rusty Hevelin’s collections, as part of his continued legacy.
FOURTH Annual Shakespeare Livestream Tune in live Wednesday April 26, 11:00am-1:00pm CST [Central time in the USA is GMT -5:00]
We’re back! Celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday week by joining us – live on the internet! – for our FOURTH annual Shakespeare’s Death Anniversary & Birthday Week Commemoration Livestream, featuring University of Iowa Shakespeare professor Adam Hooks, alongside Colleen Theisen, Special Collections Outreach & Engagement Librarian.
Now is your chance to Ask a Shakespeare Scholar anything about Shakespeare, about being a Shakespeare scholar, and maybe even about your least favorite Shakespeare plays. We will also have a selection of historic, unusual, beautiful, and forged editions of Shakespeare’s works from Special Collections which we’ll be showing and telling stories about LIVE!
Use the hashtag #shxlive to ask a question, or type one here in the comments, or tune in live to ask a question. The event will be added to the UISpecColl YouTube channel as a video after the completion of the event. (See past livestreams).
Special Collections and the Iowa Bibliophiles will be hosting a reception and open house extravaganza the evening of Wednesday March 8, 2017 celebrating the arrival of the traveling exhibition Open*Set while providing an opportunity for in-depth investigation of our newest acquisitions.
Explore the Open*Set exhibition from the American Academy of Bookbinding, in the Special Collections gallery space while recent acquisitions from Special Collections are set up for browsing in our Reading Room. Bookbinder, printer, and Open*Set judgeDavid Esslemontwill speak about the exhibition at6:15pm.
Acquisitions and Collections Management Librarian Margaret Gamm will provide an in-depth recap of rare book acquisitions over the past three years at 7:00pm. Learn how the University acquires material through purchase and donation, and discover which areas have been most heavily developed, all the way from Medieval manuscripts to modern artists’ books. Come for a bit or stay for all. The festivities all take place in the Special Collections Reading Room on the 3rd floor of the Main Library from 5:30PM~7:45PM. Refreshments will be served