Rare Books and Manuscripts Library

Highlighting our collections and the work that we do

Category: Special dates and anniversaries

“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

Celebrating a Holiday Classic

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year,” is Ebenezer Scrooge’s exclamation at the end of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which was first published 172 years ago (Dec. 19, 1843).  The wildly popular novella is credited with reforming the public image and celebration of Christmas to one of celebration and humanitarianism.  While we don’t hold a copy of that first edition, Rare Books does have a later collection of Christmas stories, which features the revelry of Mr. Fezziwig’s party on the frontispiece:

view of open book - Dickens, Christmas Stories

Also included among the strong collection of Dickens materials in the OSU Libraries are three first edition novels in their original serialized formats (The Pickwick Papers, David Copperfield, and A Tale of Two Cities), two first edition serialized novels, bound after publication (Bleak House and Our Mutual Friend), and two collections of original Dickens periodicals (Master Humphrey’s Clock and Household Words).

photo of David Copperfield in original parts

David Copperfield in original parts

Dickens’ classic can currently be viewed in two adaptations on the Columbus stage: Mr. Scrooge at the Columbus Children’s Theatre and A Christmas Carol at the Columbus Civic Theatre (both closing Dec. 20).

Want more Dickens?  Don’t forget the annual Dickens events at Ohio Village (Ohio History Connection), or visit downtown Cambridge, Ohio during the holidays for an abundance of Dickens characters and scenes on display along the sidewalks.  In fact, if you stop in at the welcome center to warm up you can slip into something more appropriate for the time period and take photos.

 Cecelia Bellomy

The Fruits of Research: A Public Symposium

Professor Elizabeth Renker of the Department of English has been among the most stalwart users of the holdings from the William Charvat Collection of American Literature. Of especial note, Professor Renker originated and developed a literary archives course that, over the years, has enlightened both undergraduate and graduate students on the rewards of hands-on research of primary materials. Her students have won numerous research awards for their papers on nineteenth-century American culture, particularly, Sarah Piatt, other period poets, story papers, sheet music, trade catalogs and more.

On May 25, 2015 (Memorial Day) members of the 2015 literary archives course will be presenting their research at a special event sponsored by Mac-O-Chee Castle, a private, family-owned museum that interprets over 200 years of history of the Ohio land and Ohio people. The event is part of Castle’s Centennial Season that celebrates the cultural ideas that defined the 19th Century.

Program and contact information can be found at: http://library.osu.edu/documents/rarebooks/events/PiattCastlesSalonMay2015.pdf

World Day for Audiovisual Heritage – October 27

Rare Books and Manuscripts Curators, like our colleagues around the world, worry every day about the lifespans of the audiovisual materials entrusted to our care.  We welcome this opportunity to remind the wider community just how valuable AND how vulnerable they are, calling attention to the UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage.

World Day for Audiovisual Heritage poster

At the same time as this year’s celebration of the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage 2014, the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library is delighted to officially announce the completion of one of our many digitization projects, the videotaped interviews in the Jessica Mitford collection. The Mitford Collection has been particularly popular among researchers. The videos, recorded on U-matic tapes, were no longer accessible for viewing in the reading room. Even if we were to borrow a U-matic player from another campus office we would be hesitant to play the tapes for fear of causing permanent damage. Instead, we entrusted professionals to play them and simultaneously transfer them to digital format in the process. At the same time, the University Libraries is in the process of establishing standards and guidelines for preserving the digital files locally, so that we are prepared to transfer these precious recordings to new formats and storage media in the future.