Zoë Webb is a graduate student at the University of Iowa in the School of Library and Information Science and is also pursuing a Book Studies certificate at the Center for the Book. As a student worker in Special Collections, she was recently appointed Processing Intern for the L. Falcon Media Fandom Collection. Below Zoë shares some of the amazing things she has found, as well as the experiences and lessons learned working with this collection.
Special Collections recently acquired the L. Falcon Media Fandom Collection (MsC1108). Since processing collections often require a serious time commitment, the collection’s donor also gave the library a generous gift to allow a student more time to focus on the Falcon collection and be thorough with the processing. That lucky student was me, Zoë Webb. I’ve been spending a portion of every week as a student worker in Special Collections organizing and identifying the weird and wonderful material found within this collection.
This collection consists of books and annuals, zines, fan art, article clippings, scripts, and a couple of recordings. The fandoms range from the 1960s to the 2000s, and are mostly science fiction, with some fantasy and war stories in the mix. Topics covered include Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Blake’s 7, Fantastic Journey, War of the Worlds, Rat Patrol, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Avengers (the 1960s British spy Avengers, not the tight-suited American Avengers that grace our screen today), The Professionals, The Sandbaggers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Captain Scarlet, and Due South, just to name a few.
Over the past months I have come across some great, albeit odd, gems that I’d like to share with all of you out there reading this. Below is just the tip of the iceberg of what this collection holds. Thanks to the generous donation from the Falcon family, I have been able to focus my attention on this collection, learning not only more about the world of fandom, but about the skills needed to process and sort such unique material in an archival setting. In the next month, you will be able to enjoy this collection for yourself by searching everything on ArchivesSpace and visiting us.
Every year, Special Collections hosts two Olson Graduate Assistants who have chosen to specialize in the field of Special Collections Librarianship or Archives for a two-year assistantship. These prestigious positions supplement knowledge gained in the classroom with experience gained from real-world application, balancing theory with practice.
The H. John and Florence Hawkinson Libraries Acquisition Endowment has introduced an exciting new element to this experience: in the second year of their assistantship, the Olson Graduate Assistant can now be given a budget for material acquisitions. The Graduate Assistant chooses a curatorial area of interest in alignment with collection strengths, and works with the Curator in that area to learn about the material selection process. They may attend meetings with book artists and book dealers, peruse catalogs, and search online for the right item(s). They then formally recommend items for purchase and, once the Curator approves of the recommendation, are looped in on the relevant communication. This is a spectacular learning opportunity for them, and a valuable way for Curators to remain in touch with how the next generation of librarians is approaching the work of acquisitions.
This year, Olson Graduate Assistant Micaela Terronez selected four items that will be purchased for the Special Collections department using the Hawkinson Endowment. Working with Head of Special Collections, Margaret Gamm, Micaela located materials that would either develop or fill in gaps within the collections. Below, Micaela has provided a brief description of the selected works and why she was interested in them.
Forming Common Threads
By Mari Eckstein Gower
Redmond, Washington: Mari Eckstein Gower, 2018.
My eyes were immediately drawn to the vibrant colors and structure of Mari Eckstein Gower’s Forming Common Threads. The artist’s book features beautiful watercolor paintings by the artist, as well as silk and paper threads attached to a series of words such as “inspire,” “support,” and “heal.” Gower’s work links the many stories of strong women from history in contrast to the toxic and misogynistic rhetoric she grew up with. From the Japanese Tarasen patterned papers to the modified stitched drumleaf format, I was also interested in this book because of the multitude of materials and techniques utilized in its creation.
Chronicles of a Coleopterists Strikingly Curious Swarm
By Gabrielle Cooksey
Tacoma, Washington: Gabrielle Cooksey, 2018.
Anyone that knows me well knows I absolutely hate bugs. Spiders, flies, beetles – I squirm at the sight of them all. Gabrielle Cooksey’s Chronicles of a Coleopterists Strikingly Curious Swarm has officially changed my mind about the beauty of these tiny creatures. Included in the artist’s book are twelve aluminum beetles with stories from the author, as well as Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Darwin, Hans Christian Anderson, and Aesop. The book, bound in Cave Paper, was meant to mirror a research field guide. Perhaps one day I’ll have the courage to do my own research on insects. Until then, I think I’ll stick to examining and admiring them from afar with the help of Cooksey’s work. The book will certainly be an enchanting addition to the artists’ books collections.
By Alex Appella San Antonio de Arredondo, Córdoba, Argentina: Alex Appella, 2018.
I am not a native Spanish speaker, but the language certainly carries an emotional connection to my roots and upbringing. Some of my earliest memories of Spanish, for example, originate from daily experiences with my grandparents. One Day · Un Día by Alex Appella utilizes bilingual text (Spanish, English) and a collage of family photographs to document the last day of her grandfather’s life and the last days of her mother’s life. By interweaving family and language, Alex Apella’s work recalled memories of my childhood with my grandparents – both living and passed. When I first arrived at Iowa, I had a difficult time locating bilingual, visual works in Spanish and English. Now, I hope that this work will supplement research, teachings, and emotional reunions.
As a humanities-focused graduate student, I rarely have the opportunity to truly explore the sciences. Mathematics, in particular, has never been my strongest point. Anyone else still count with their hands, or is it just me? Whether you are a science enthusiast or not, Enumerations by Stephanie Gibbs will allow you to consider the interesting intersections between the sciences and humanities. Designed within a clamshell box, the artist’s book includes different forms of memory and computing. A slide rule, memory diagram, diskettes, and Trigonometry screenprints are just a few of the interesting components. Enumerations also includes Ada Lovelace’s description of Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine. I’m incredibly excited to add another bookwork representing women in science to the collections.
University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections is pleased to announce the acquisition of the library and papers of noted Romanian-American writer Andrei Codrescu. Comprising approximately eighty linear feet of manuscripts, books, audiovisual material, digital media, art works, and ephemera, this acquisition is a major addition to the University Libraries’ literary collections, and will provide a treasure trove of material for researchers in a variety of fields.
Andrei Codrescu was born in Sibiu, Romania in 1946. His literary career began with a number of poems written in Romanian when he was in his teens; it was during this period that he changed his surname from “Perlmutter” to “Codrescu.” Emigrating to the United States in 1966, he soon started writing and publishing in English. Living first in Detroit, he moved to New York and then to California, coming into extensive contact with the New York School of poets as well as the Beats. He held teaching positions at Johns Hopkins University and, for many years, at Louisiana State University, commuting by Greyhound bus to Baton Rouge from his home in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Since his retirement from LSU, Codrescu has been living in New York City while maintaining a rural retreat in the Buffalo River Valley in northern Arkansas, where besides writing he has been experimenting with sculpture and collage-constructions.
Codrescu is perhaps best known for his regular commentaries on NPR’s All Things Considered beginning in 1983. His writing encompasses virtually every genre, including poetry, novels, short stories, plays, essays, book-length non-fiction, autobiography, and film scripts. In recent years he has resumed writing poetry in his “native” language, Romanian. (Romanian was actually his third language, since as a child growing up in Transylvania, he first spoke German and Hungarian.) Besides his numerous books of poetry and his novels, Codrescu’s most influential books include The Hole in the Flag (an account of his return to Romania as an NPR reporter just days after the 1989 revolution), The Disappearance of the Outside,The Posthuman Dada Guide,Bibliodeath, and a series of innovative autobiographical works. He is also well-known for editing the journal Exquisite Corpse, named after a surrealist game.
Andrei Codrescu has longstanding connections with Iowa City’s literary scene, having been friends with a number of local authors. His library is filled with dedication copies of books by Iowa writers, former participants in the International Writing Program, Beat poets, Romanian authors, and major figures representing every strand of contemporary American literature.
In February of this year Codrescu presented a lecture-performance in connection with the Libraries’ exhibition Documenting Dada, Disseminating Dada; the video is available online. During his visit, he met with a variety of groups on campus, including the School of Library and Information Science, the MFA Program in Translation, the International Writing Program, and library staff. Discussions began with Special Collections staff concerning the possible acquisition of his papers, and in August librarians Tim Shipe and Amy Chen visited Codrescu’s Arkansas studio to inspect the collection and discuss terms. Following the successful conclusion of these discussions, the collection arrived at the University Libraries in mid-October, and is now in the preliminary stages of processing.
Among the highlights of the collection are three unpublished novels, manuscripts, correspondence, and ephemera related to the author’s published books (including the Romanian flag with the Communist symbol cut out that inspired the title of The Hole in the Flag), communications concerning assassination threats from the Romanian secret police, documentation of exhibitions, and a number of two- and three-dimensional collages and art installations. Also included are back-up copies of pre-1990 manuscript materials now housed at Louisiana State University. Codrescu’s library includes annotated books that Codrescu used during his research for his novels and non-fiction prose works. Also included is a comprehensive collection of Codrescu’s books, including some proof copies with manuscript revisions.
Andrei Codrescu’s collection promises to be a fruitful resource for researchers for many years to come, and a new draw for visitors to America’s first UNESCO City of Literature.
The Battle Creek Sanitarium was opened in 1866 by John Harvey Kellogg and his brother W. K. Kellogg, promoting health through a regimen of dietetics, exercise, hydrotherapy, phototherapy, thermotherapy, electotherapy, mechanotherapy, and enemas. They were joined in this enterprise by C.W. Post. In some areas they were ahead of their time, such as their emphasis on a low fat diet including whole grains, fiber-rich foods, and nuts, as well as getting lots of fresh air and exercise. But other areas were on the fringe and were open to ridicule, such as the treatment the Sanitarium received in the book and movie The Road to Wellville, the title of which is a spoof of John Harvey Kellogg’s book The Road to Wellness. The Sanitarium suffered during the depression and was scaled back in 1933 and permanently closed in 1952. What lives on are the cereals created by the Kelloggs and C.W. Post Companies, derivatives of the healthy foods promoted by the Sanitarium.
In the Brinton collection we recently found these books, entitled The Battle Creek System of Health Training. While not emanating from the Sanitarium, the books are from Battle Creek’s Health Extension Bureau and carry a publication dates of 1922 and 1924, during the height of the Sanitarium’s popularity. There were seven volumes in the series: 1) Making Life Worth While; 2) Taking a Health Inventory; 3) The Digestibility of Different Foods; 4) Foods and Feeding; 5) Diet in Disease; 6) Weight Regulation; and 7) Simple Remedies for Common Maladies.
The books in this collection are in near perfect condition. Unfortunately volumes 3 and 4 are missing so this is not a complete set. On a search in OCLC First Search, only four other libraries were named as having these volumes.
Old Capitol Museum Keyes Gallery for the Arts, Humanities, and Sciences
Explore artistic interpretations of Cervantes’ tale from the 1600s to the 1930s through collected images from editions of Don Quixote from the University of Iowa Libraries.
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1. A new acquisition for our collection of miniature books.
Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr., Descent of Mount Gadam, Jubilee Press, 1993. Adapted from a folktale of the Mensa Bet-Abrehe people of northern Ethiopia. Includes a linocut outline map of Africa.
2. A new addition to the University of Iowa Libraries’ map collections for studying World War I.
The Markets of the World. Open to Great Britain: Closed to Germany, London : Roberts & Leete Ltd., . This map shows sources of import for Britain during 1916.
Just for Fun:
Our graduate assistants made a parody of our new acquisition unboxing videos we’ve been making on the social media site Vine.
Please welcome our “new acquisition,” graduate assistant John Fifield.
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This is the first of a long string of announcements of new acquisitions that we will be announcing, so follow our blog to hear all the latest!
Tiny is the only word to describe this 58mm volume La divina commedia di Dante. This is the second smallest edition of Dante ever printed and is notable for using the smallest movable type ever cast. It was printed in Milan in 1878 by Ulrico Hoepli.
If you want to test your eyesight, stop by to give this one a try.