Rare Books and Manuscripts Library

Highlighting our collections and the work that we do

Category: History

“A Refugee of the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of April 18th, 1906”

The photograph collections in Rare Books and Manuscripts offer students a strong historical survey of processes and movements, from daguerreotypes to modern digital prints, as well as selections by some of the most recognized names in the medium.  Researchers are less likely to know about the less aesthetic and more purely historical collections, such as those documenting life in central Ohio in the early twentieth century, or the experiences of soldiers and researchers outside of Ohio.  On this anniversary of the San Francisco earthquake we call your attention to a collection of photographs taken by individuals living in that city, who responded immediately to the devastation around them.

View Towards Market Street

View Towards Market Street

This collection of well over 100 images was created by DeWitt C. Morrill, brother of Mrs. Frank H. Haskett, former University photographer, and son of Harrison D. Morrill, alumni secretary of OSU, whose 1925 funeral was presided over by President William Oxley Thompson.

Looking Toward Market Street from Howard and Third (to the south)

Looking Toward Market Street from Howard and Third (to the south)

DeWitt took photographs as he wandered the city immediately after the earthquake, and kept careful notes, which he entitled “Notebook of a Refugee of the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of April 18th, 1906.”  He rounded out his historical collection with post cards and additional photographs from the Pillsbury Picture Company, established earlier that year by Arthur C. Pillsbury (perhaps a friend).  While many photographs of the San Francisco Earthquake are available at other institutions, the notes taken by D.C. Morrill, and the identifications on the versos of his photographic prints bring an added value to this collection.

SPEC-RARE-DCM-1-6-007

Morrill’s notebook

Wholesale District, Corner of Sansome and Pine

Wholesale District, Corner of Sansome and Pine

“A little world of one’s own”

“I feel so intensely the delights of shutting oneself up in a little world of one’s own, with pictures and music and everything beautiful,” says Mrs. Clarissa Dalloway, first introduced in Virginia Woolf’s premiere novel, The Voyage Out, published on this day in 1913. Woolf’s revolutionary career as a novelist, essayist, and Modernist thinker began with this novel about young Rachel Vinrace’s journey from Edwardian society to exotic South America, where her freedom of thought and feeling grow the further she gets from home.

portrait of Virginia Woolf

English novelist and critic Virginia Woolf (1882 – 1941), 1902. (Photo by George C. Beresford/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Though Rare Books and Manuscripts does not possess a first edition of this particular work, we do hold copies of many of Woolf’s most popular writings, including several first editions from her and husband Leonard Woolf’s Hogarth Press, a signed copy of Orlando (1928), and a copy of her last novel, Between the Acts (1941), published after her suicide and signed by her husband.

~ Cecelia Bellomy

Japan after August 6, 1945 (The Allied Occupation)

On this day after the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing we might turn our thoughts to post World War II Japan, the subject matter of a collection of photographs donated to Rare Books and Manuscripts in 2003 by anthropologist John W. Bennett.  His photographs document the period 1948-1951.  They were published, along with excerpts from his journals and other textual material, as an online exhibition: “Doing Photography and Social Research in the Allied Occupation of Japan, 1948-1951: A Personal and Professional Memoir”  ( http://library.osu.edu/projects/bennett-in-japan/  )

The photographs have been the focus of considerable interest since made available to the public.  Most recently  they were the subject of an article by Morris Low – “American Photography during the Allied Occupation of Japan: The Work of John W. Bennett,” The History of Photography: An International Quarterly  39 no. 3 (2015): 263-278.  This was just published in a special issue of The History of Photography entitled “American Photography in the Asia-Pacific.”

JWB_in_Japan-10(400w)John W. Bennett, “The Rice Ration in Suburban Tokyo”
(from a selection of Urban Images)