If Books Could Talk is a collaboration between Heather Wacha from History Corps, a digital public history project from the History Department at the University of Iowa, Colleen Theisen, Outreach & Engagement Librarian from Special Collections, and Katie Buehner, Head of the Rita Benton Music Library from the University of Iowa Libraries. Heather Wacha researched and wrote the episodes, Colleen Theisen served as the host, and Katie Buehner filmed and edited the series.
“If Books Could Talk,” explains that the paper, bindings, bookplates, repairs, stains, handwritten notes, stamps, and markings all leave traces that give clues to how they were made, where they have been, and can even tell about the lives of the people who have read them.
The final episode appears below. In it, Heather and Colleen examine two Medieval manuscript leaves and what we can learn from the layout, chapter headings, verse numbers and more. How does a Medieval manuscript Bible leaf differ from a Bible printed today, and what features have remained throughout the years?
Find out in the final episode of If Books Could Talk:
Wednesday, 4/13: Iowa Bibliophiles, Jane Murphy and Mark Brookfield, 36 year partners in Murphy-Brookfield Books, will talk about the enormous changes brought on by Internet bookselling in the last 20+ years. (Refreshments 6:30PM, Talk 7PM, Special Collections Reading Room).
DEADLINE EXTENDED TO APRIL 15, 2016: Apply for the Linda and Richard Kerber fund for financial support to research in the Iowa Women’s Archives http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/iwa/kerber/
University Archivist David McCartney traveled this week to accept the 2016 Distinguished Archives Alumni award from the iSchool at the University of Maryland. Join us in congratulating David!
Tim Shipe has just returned from his mostly Dada-related European travels. He started in Amsterdam, where he acquired books by Dutch writers who had participated in the International Writing Program. Proceeding via Cologne, where he met with curators at two museums devoted to German dadaists, he then flew to Bucharest, where he was an invited keynote speaker at an international conference on Dada held at the Romanian Academy. He ended his travels in Zurich, where the Dada centennial celebrations were in full swing. After meeting with numerous librarians, curators, and scholars, his Swiss sojourn culminated in another keynote address, this time at the Cabaret Voltaire, in the very room where the Dada movement was born in 1916. The picture shows Tim in the Cabaret just after completing his lecture.
This Week’s Best from Social Media:
Ethan DeGross testing the 3D model on the interactive screen which is part of the “Explorer’s Legacy” exhibition in the Main Library gallery, open through April 8th.
A new episode in the If Books Could Talk video series debuted this week on YouTube. If Books Could Talk is a collaboration between the University of Iowa Libraries and History Corps, a digital public history initiative from the University of Iowa Department of History.
While these photos were fun to take (Geometry! Yay!), Russell Maret’s 2014 work Interstices & Intersections must be seen in person to understand the way the structure of the book impacts the text. You can also see several books of Euclid’s Elements of Geometry, the inspiration behind Maret’s work, in Special Collections. – Margaret Gamm
Events & Workshops Recap:
3/4/2016 Bruce Whiteman, Head Librarian Emeritus of the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library at UCLA, gave a workshop for the Center for the Book last Friday on forgeries and drew extensively from Special Collections to demonstrate the history of forgeries, fakes, pirated copies, hoaxes, false imprints, and counterfeits. Special Collections is deeply grateful for his generous sharing of his expertise making it possible to better identify and describe our collections.
3/5/2016 The Iowa Women’s Archives kicked off Women’s History Month by celebrating the contributions of Iowa Latinas to our history and the formation of the Latina/o Studies minor on campus. Mujeres Latinas: Every Woman Has a Story brought 62 participants to the Library for a two-hour workshop Saturday morning. I especially enjoyed the participatory aspect of the event – from the Latina/o Studies announcement to the terrific contributions of the students and heartfelt memories from members of the public about their own family history and the artifacts/documents they brought to share. After the event, many participants headed out of the library to other venues to “continue the discussion.” – Janet Weaver, Assistant Curator, Iowa Women’s Archives
3/9/2016 The Iowa Bibliophiles welcomed Doug Russell, senior judge of the Iowa District Court, who addressed the Bibliophiles on books by and about famous bibliophiles, their book collections, and the books they have written about collecting.
Where are your other leaves? Re-discovering the Wilton Processional
Even a single page from a medieval book can hold many secrets. Sometimes there are enough clues to uncover a surprising history.
In March 2015, Heather Wacha, a PhD student in the History Department, and a member of History Corps, was assisting Special Collections in identifying a leaf that had been cut out of a medieval manuscript. Further investigation of this manuscript’s clues has since drawn together librarians, graduate students, and UNI professor Dr. Alison Altstatt. Together, they have uncovered a story spanning centuries of a manuscript that was once created, then lost, then broken by notorious book breaker Otto Ege, and is now finally, refound: The Wilton Processional.
Special Collections is very pleased to bring you episode five from the “If Books Could Talk” video series, Where are your other leaves? Re-discovering the Wilton Processional
Congratulations to John Fifield, Caxton Club Grant Recipient
On Wednesday, November 18, University of Iowa Center for the Book students Ian Huebert, Amy Richard, and Special Collections’ Olson Graduate Assistant John Fifield all accepted grants from the Caxton Club at the Union League in Chicago. John’s grant will fund his return to the Biblioteca de la Recoleta in Arequipa, Peru, in January. He will be continuing research on Colonial Spanish monastic libraries and the Transatlantic Book Trade. You can view photos from the projects at the Recoleta at recoleta2015.tumblr.com.
Join us in congratulating John!
Congratulations to Kelly Grogg, Ella Von Holtom, and Heather Wacha for Being Accepted Into the Obermann Graduate Institute
Olson Graduate Assistant Kelly Grogg, and department employees Ella Von Holtom, and Heather Wacha were all accepted as Graduate Fellows for the seventh annual Obermann Graduate Institute on Engagement and the Academy. Join us in congratulating Kelly, Ella, and Heather!
Marie Mattingly Meloney, the creator of this album, gifted it to Laird C. Addis in 1926. It contains many autographs and small mementos from famous figures of the early 20th century, collected during Meloney’s time as an award-winning reporter and editor. She was close friends with Marie Curie, and was responsible for a nationwide campaign to purchase radium for Curie and her laboratory. More information about the album is available here. Donated by Laird Addis Jr.
Medieval Quill Cutting & More: If Books Could Talk Video Series Returns
How does a Medieval manuscript tell its story? If you look closely enough the marginalia, bookplates, library stamps, dirt marks, and page numbers tell a story of how a manuscript was made, who used it, and where it has been. If Books Could Talk is a video series exploring the questions to ask to investigate a manuscript by examining the physical traces that tell its story. If Books Could Talk is a collaboration between the UI Libraries and History Corps.
Delve in and you will be surprised with what you can learn when you listen to an artifact closely.
From the University Archives
Civil rights activist donates rare material to UI: UI archivist cultivates friendship with key player in 1964 voter registration effort
Civil rights activist Eric Morton’s story is the feature in this month’s Old Gold column from University Archivist David McCartney.
On the left you see Eric Morton in 1951, one year after enlisting in the U.S. Armed Forces. (Eric Morton Civil Rights Papers MsC 0999).