Left: Manuscripts class with fifth grade students. Right: Center for the Book class.
Photos: Final tote bag pile, Colleen Theisen and Rebecca Romney speaking at Prairie Lights, Janet Weaver speaking about Mujeres Latinas at Hancher, the Instagram meetup, and a crowd scene from the final plenary session.
NBC Nightly News filmed a segment about the Charlotte Smith Miniature Book Collection. View it here.
Greg Prickman, head of Special Collections at the University of Iowa Libraries, was honored March 31 with the 2015 Arthur Benton University Librarian’s Award for Excellence.
The Arthur Benton University Librarian’s Award for Excellence recognizes a member of the UI Libraries’ professional staff who has demonstrated outstanding commitment and leadership in furthering Libraries’ mission serve the University community.
The honor includes a $1,500 award for professional development that will support the recipient’s research projects or publications related to library services. This award was made possible by an endowment from Dr. Arthur Benton, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Neurology, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
In letters of support for this award, the selection committee noted Prickman’s commitment to furthering the Libraries’ role in the University’s academic mission, as well as his professionalism and responsiveness to researcher needs.
Timothy Barrett, Director of the University of Iowa Center for the Book and Associate Professor in the UI School of Library and Information Science, nominated Prickman for the award. Barrett notes that Prickman’s work “resulted in the UI being selected as the site for the Folger Shakespeare First Folio traveling exhibit. Greg’s leadership shines in the midst of a complex but very promising event for the UI Libraries, all participating units, and the UI overall.”
Prickman also earned praises from Adam Hooks, Assistant Professor of English, who notes a climate of accessibility that Greg has created for scholars.
“Greg’s vision for the library has transformed the learning experience for students at the University of Iowa,” says Hooks. “Thanks to the significant digital projects sponsored by Special Collections, the intellectual and material resources at Iowa are accessible to students around the world.” Prickman was the catalyst for the Civil War Diaries Transcription Project that led to crowdsourcing platform DIY History, and he is the creator of The Atlas of Early Printing.
Jennifer Burek Pierce, Associate Professor in the UI School of Library and Information Science, writes of Prickman’s ability to empower his staff to assist researchers. Burek Pierce notes that “those with whom we work in Special Collections clearly feel empowered to do their best work, to look for interesting and new ways to connect with users. As the head of Special Collections, Greg is instrumental in allowing this to happen, in the example he sets, in his development of responsive policies, and in hiring.”
The Arthur Benton University Librarian’s Award for Excellence Award is given annually. Past recipients include Kari Kozak, Jen DeBerg, Dottie Persson, John Forys, Edward Miner, Kathy Magarrell, Kären Mason, Dave Martin, and John Schacht.
Two carts of 1930s-2000s science fiction books from the James L. “Rusty” Hevelin Science Fiction Collection have recently returned from the Cataloging-Metadata Department. Among these are hardcover and paperback books as well as magazines and periodicals. Included are works by Isaac Asimov, H.P. Lovecraft, Frank Herbert and more. Use the keyword “Hevelin” in the Infohawk Catalog to browse an up-to-date list of everything from the collection that has a catalog record to date, or check out the gallery below to browse some titles.
Wachel Collection of Early Photographs, MsC1040. Includes daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, ferreotypes or tintypes, and cyanotypes. It also contains a collection of union cases, mostly holding miniature photographs of the Civil War era. Of special note is an album titled “Canoe Trip 1915” which is the record of a canoe trip taken in Illinois by four men, presumably brothers of the name of Jehren. It is enhanced by the inclusion of rhyming couplets commenting on what is occurring in the photographs. http://aspace.lib.uiowa.edu/repositories/2/resources/2631
1.The Resounding Whistle Comes to the Archives
The recently-retired power plant whistle has arrived at the library! Many thanks to Kyle Smith, electronics instrumentation supervisor in the power plant and whistle historian, for making this possible.
The whistle is the third of a line first used at the plant in 1939; this particular one functioned from sometime between 1992 and 1994 until last Tuesday, when #4 was activated. More about the whistle and its history is at http://now.uiowa.edu/2015/11/whistle-work
You can see a photo of this whistle in action in 2011 here.
2. Marie Curie Dedication
Marie Curie inscribed this lovely edition of Pierre Curie to Laird Clark Addis, the father of the donor. Laird C. Addis donated the book earlier this year, along with another that will be featured next week. We are very excited to receive these pieces of scientific history.
From the Web and Social Media
Digital Transitions posted a featured video about the UI Libraries digitization equipment and NEH grant funded project to digitize Special Collections’ extremely brittle Vaudeville scrapbooks.
Three copies of Liber Chronicarum (The Nuremberg Chronicle) from 1493 were on hand for the Iowa Bibliophiles talk last Wednesday night. Greg Prickman, Head of Special Collections introduced the provenance of the copy from the Main Library, the copy from the John Martin Rare Book Room at the Hardin Medical Library, and a copy from the private collection of Arthur Bonfield.
Thanks to everyone who attended! Next month’s meeting is Wednesday, December 9th at 7pm where Arthur Bonfield will give a talk about his collections of 16-17th century travel literature.
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ICON Science Fiction Convention October 16-18th, 2015
The ICON Science Fiction convention began 40 years ago, born from a passionate group of fans that met in a science fiction class taught here at the University of Iowa by the Hugo and Nebula award winning author Joe Haldeman, and the same group who formed a U.I. student group called S.F.L.I.S. (Science Fiction League of Iowa Students). This weekend marks the convention’s 40th Anniversary. (See the program booklet for the first ICON convention from 1975: Here).
The 40th Anniversary convention is taking place this weekend at the Doubletree in downtown Cedar Rapids. (There is still time to register). A partner exhibition is being held at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art including works created by each Artist Guest of Honor that has been a featured guest in the history of the convention.
At the opening ceremonies Friday night, University of Iowa Librarians Peter Balestrieri and Colleen Theisen will be officially presented with a check for $1955.00 that was raised by the community in an auction last year to be used to support the digitization of the 1930s-1950s fanzines in the James L. “Rusty” Hevelin Science Fiction Collection. Rusty was a beloved member of the ICON community, and the community came together both donating items to be auctioned and bidding on those items in a heartwarming display of support for the University of Iowa’s role in carrying on the care and legacy of Rusty and his collection.
You will be able to catch the University of Iowa librarians throughout the weekend at the convention, both at a table in the dealer’s room where you can pick up our zine detailing the current status of the Hevelin Fanzine Digitization Project, and also at various panels throughout the weekend about Science Fiction and zine history, about using a University Library for research as a writer, and as co-conspirators for a project to make a mimeographed fanzine over the course of the weekend.
Wednesday, October 14th, John Fifield, one of our current Olson Graduate Assistants, presented about his work this summer at the Convent of the Recoleta in Arequipa, Peru, where he assisted with identifying and cataloging early printed books in the convent’s collection. In the photo on the screen (click thumbnail to enlarge) you can see images of the exquisite handcrafted display cases in the convent library that were built by Bill Voss, of the University of Iowa conservation lab, on an unrelated trip in years past. Thanks to everyone who attended, especially the many new faces this month! The lively Q&A that followed the talk had to be cut short due to time constraints, so any unanswered follow up questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
An example from UI Special Collections of a typical 17th-century Peruvian book will be in the case just inside the doors of Special Collections for the rest of October if you would like to stop by and learn about printing in Peru during the Spanish Colonial period.
From the Web and Social Media:
1. This month’s Old Gold column
Remembering a time when postseason play was limited: 1960 Hawkeye football squad loses once, misses out on Rose Bowl
University Archivist David McCartney’s monthly Old Gold column tasks him with being a sports writer this month.
Photo: The 1960 Hawkeye football team. Image courtesy of University of Iowa Yearbooks collection, Department of Special Collections and University Archives, UI Libraries.
2. Weekly Dada related posts on Instagram – #dadagrams
Tim Shipe, curator of the International Dada Archives, has been posting about Dada on Instagram once a week on Thursdays. The #dadagram series will continue as a lead up to the 100th Anniversary celebration in 2017. Fans of Dada should definitely keep tabs on this series on Instagram.
Sometimes it is nice to step back and recognize milestones. This animated GIF of re-sewing a text block on single raised cords upstairs in the UI Conservation Lab is now one of the most popular social media post we’ve ever made. With comments like “OMG, I’ve wondered how to do that for the longest time!”, it’s clear that even a momentary snippet can bring to light some of the otherwise invisible work that happens behind the scenes in the library.
1. Georg von Logau. Hoc volumine continentur…poëtæ tres egregii. Augsburg 1534
Latin classes return to Special Collections every semester to survey the material history of the transmission of Latin authors through time. We hope to see this little book used in many Latin classes over the years. Featuring work by Gattius , Nemesianus, and Calpurnius, it focuses on hunting, fishing, sporting dogs, and country life, and should be a very approachable text for even brief visits.
2. Peter and Donna Thomas The Renaissance Pleasure Faire Broadsides, 1974-2011.
A retrospective collection of ten typographic broadsides that Peter and Donna Thomas made when working at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire. The broadsides were all letterpress printed on Peter’s handmade paper. They were illustrated with linoleum cuts and watercolor rubrication by Donna. An introductory broadside and a book they published in 1988 with a photographic history of the Faire are included with the broadsides.
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After working in Special Collections for a while, we meet many people who leave a lasting impression on us—collectors, donors of papers, students, and researchers, among others, who devote countless hours to their work in these collections. In the midst of comings and goings, some individuals stand out, and one of them deserves special recognition.
It is with heavy hearts, but also fond memories, that we remember the time we spent with Lucy Hartmann, who passed away on June 22. We got to know Lucy during the time she spent working in Special Collections through the UI REACH program. Lucy was dedicated to her tasks in Special Collections, helping us with filing, sorting, cleaning books, and other duties that helped us to tackle some things that we may not have otherwise been able to resolve. Her contributions to our activities were real and meaningful, and the focus she applied to her work impressed us all. We were able to share some of our favorite items in the collections with her, and were delighted to be able to throw a party for her to commemorate her graduation from UI REACH.
I speak on behalf of the entire staff of Special Collections when I say that she will be missed, that her time with us will not be forgotten, and that her efforts are truly appreciated as we continue to go about our daily business. Her time in our department may have been relatively brief, but the impression she made on us is something that will endure with us for a long time to come.
Over the years that we have been involved with UI REACH, thanks to the efforts of our Department Manager Kathy Hodson, we have been fortunate to be able to work with, and learn from, people such as Lucy and former students Alex and Jeff. We look forward to continuing this relationship, and to remembering Lucy by extending opportunities to more students in the future.
Yesterday I walked into a meeting to discuss an upcoming exhibition we are putting together on World War II. On the book truck I pushed in front of me were several boxes from the papers of Stewart Stern. Stern was a World War II veteran, a survivor of the Battle of the Bulge, who went on to a long career as a Hollywood screenwriter (of films such as Rebel Without a Cause) and a teacher. My colleague who greeted me saw the boxes and said that Stewart had passed away, at the age of 92.
My heart immediately sank. Just this past summer Stewart had visited us from his home in Washington state, making the drive across the country with his wife. He came to visit us in the library where his papers are housed, to answer some lingering questions he had about his work that only his own papers could answer, and to see where his legacy was cared for. The visit with Stewart was the kind of occasion that makes this job among the most meaningful occupations a person could have—sitting with someone like Stewart, listening to his stories about Jimmy (James Dean), his days as an actor in theatrical productions at Iowa, about his friends from the war, experiences that still made him choke up so many decades later. He was thrilled to see his papers, and he was so full of life. When I asked if I could take his picture in the stacks as he surveyed his boxes, I thought I would get a nice shot of him smiling. Instead, as I pointed the camera, he sprang into action, sweeping his arms open to proudly display his life’s work. He laughed like a child.
After this meeting with Stewart, I thought about how enjoyable the experience was, and how much I looked forward to seeing him again. The sadness in knowing that will now not be possible is tempered by the knowledge that he entrusted us with his papers, and we have the ability, and the responsibility, to tell others of his accomplishments. This summer a piece or two from Stewart’s wartime papers will be on display in the University of Iowa’s Mobile Museum—please visit us if we are in your town, and help us remember the life of a fascinating man.
If you have been following any of our social media feeds over the past few days, you may have noticed photos popping up of newly-acquired incunables. So, what’s going on here? First, some background:
Incunables are books printed in Europe during the fifteenth century, between 1450 and 1501, examples of the earliest printed books. The incunabula period is the focus of a great deal of study—the development of printing, and how it affected the design, distribution, and reception of books, remains central to our understanding of book history.
Here at Iowa, we have long held a respectable collection of incunabula, and these books are frequently called for in classes and exhibitions. In recent years, these books have been examined extensively by Tim Barrett for his study of early papermaking, and Iowa is also home to the Atlas of Early Printing, an interactive overview of the spread and development of printing in Europe. The UI Center for the Book continues to pass along the art and craft of letterpress printmaking that first flourished in the incunabula period.
Our recent acquisitions are an attempt to add examples of books and subjects in the incunabula period that we have not had previously. This collection development has been made possible due to the support of the University Libraries acquisitions fund and the Libraries’ Collection Management Committee.
Special Collections Librarian Pat Olson took charge of this opportunity and identified an outstanding mix of possibilities that enhance our collection in many ways. Among these dozen new titles is the first illustrated edition of Dante printed in Venice. Until now, our incunables largely represented just a single language: Latin. The occasional ancient Greek was the only exception. Our new Dante, however, is in Italian, and so it’s one of our first incunables printed in a vernacular language. The other, also just acquired, is Monte dell’orazione, a private devotional text intended specifically for women. The copy we just acquired is particularly notable for retaining the very rare illustrated wrapper—or to risk oversimplification, the original illustrated paperback binding.
We filled one of our more significant gaps with the acquisition of our first 15th-century Bible, and in an early pigskin binding to boot. Another first for us is our first Spanish incunable, a book of music printed in red and black at Seville in 1494. We purchased our first 15th-century edition of Ovid, too, here in its original leather-covered wooden boards and retaining its original brass furniture. Early science has been another sparsely covered subject for us, so we acquired a lavishly illustrated astrological text. (NB: What passed for science in the 1400s may not pass for science today.) We also acquired a rather crude dialogue intended for children and the less sophisticated—a rare survival, insofar as such texts were less commonly printed and more commonly read to pieces.
In all cases, we sought books in early (if not original) bindings. Given the serious interest in early papermaking here at Iowa, we made it a point to pursue books with untrimmed leaves, which serve as uncommon witnesses to original paper sizes. We searched for books with valuable marginalia, interesting provenance, and varying degrees of decoration by hand. Most of these books do have early marginalia, an invaluable resource to support the growing scholarship on the history of reading. Perhaps the most remarkable in terms of provenance is a sammelband (multiple books bound together) printed by the famous scholar-printer Johann Amerbach. Our copy is not just a well preserved example of a 15th-century sammelband, but it contains an inscription noting its donation to a local monastery by the printer himself. As far as textual decoration is concerned, these new acquisitions run the gamut from crude DIY initials to professionally executed penwork and illumination.
There really is something for everyone, and we can’t wait to share them. Once they have been catalogued and properly housed, these books may be viewed by request in our reading room during regular hours. And keep an eye out for an announcement coming at a later date of an opportunity to view these new acquisitions in person, while learning about how incunables are being studied today.
The U.S. launched its first satellite, Explorer I, on this day 55 years ago, on January 31, 1958. Under the direction of Prof. James A. Van Allen of the University of Iowa’s Department of Physics, the satellite carried a payload of data-gathering equipment which eventually revealed the presence of radiation belts encircling the earth.
Our observation of this anniversary is bittersweet this year, as one of the Explorer I team’s most dedicated developers, George Ludwig, died at his Winchester, Virginia, home on Jan. 22 at the age of 85.
George Ludwig was a doctoral candidate working on the project with Prof. Van Allen at the time, and he kept a journal chronicling the events. In his entry made at 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 1, 1958, he declared:
“Success!! The first U.S. satellite is in orbit. It looks like a good one. … At about 12:41 (Eastern Standard Time) west coast stations started reporting signals. So it was around the earth once! … And so to sleep – the end of a beautiful day.”
Mr. Ludwig, a Johnson County, Iowa native who completed his doctoral dissertation in 1960, went on to a distinguished career with the Goddard Space Flight Center, and later helped lead the effort to establish the National Earth Satellite Service during the 1970s. In 1981 he became director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Environmental Research Laboratories, a position he held for two years before returning to NASA. He retired in 1984.
His papers are now housed in the University Archives. In addition, the original data he gathered and analyzed from Explorer I, the first scientific data ever transmitted from space, is being digitized and will be made available online in its original raw form. Mr. Ludwig was part of a small, select group of space exploration pioneers whose research laid the foundation for today’s understanding of our planet, our solar system, and beyond.