How often have you eyed an attractive engraved frontispiece in an old book and thought to yourself that it might be fun to take some colored pencils or markers to it? Of course we don’t permit such acts of vandalism in the Special Collections reading room! Yet Special Collections around the world are inviting readers to “Color our Collections” this week by providing scans of selected works in black and white as “special” coloring books for adults, and encouraging artists to post the results on Twitter, with the hash tag #ColorOurCollections. Today we offer to you a PDF of selected fantasy fireplace designs dreamed up by the 18th century artist, Piranesi, from the huge volume opened below (we faded them out a bit though, so that your beautiful colors shine through).
Follow the link below to pull up the coloring pages, and check back tomorrow to see what else we’ve got for you!
“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:
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).
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.
Frontispiece from an 1898 Boston edition of Mansfield Park.
Surely we can’t let the 240th anniversary of Jane Austen’s birth pass by without at least a moment of recognition. Some of the treasures housed in the Rare Books and Manuscripts collection are first editions of Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, and Emma, all happily acquired within the last decade.
Although these first editions did not contain any illustrations, like the charming image on the right from a late nineteenth-century American edition, they are pristine examples of the multi-volume novels published during Austen’s lifetime. In just a week we celebrate another milestone – 200 years since the release of Emma.
“Hip, Hip, Hurrah!” Peder Severin Krøyer, 1888 (Gothenburg Mus. of Art)
We recognize today the 1836 birth of poet Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt. Born in Kentucky, she married into the Piatt family in 1861, whose castles in West Liberty, Ohio are a popular tourist destination ( http://www.piattcastles.org/ ). The Rare Books and Manuscripts Library holds a valuable collection of research material on Piatt as well as original published versions of her poems in books and newspapers, making it a destination for Piatt scholars. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details about the collections, and watch this space for announcements about two digitization projects currently underway.
On this special anniversary therefore, we claim her as our own, and raise a glass to her memory!
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”
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.”
John W. Bennett, “The Rice Ration in Suburban Tokyo”
(from a selection of Urban Images)
From Astrology to Astronomy: Cassini Maps the Stars
Abregé des observations & des reflexions svr la comete qui a paru au mois de decembre 1680, & aux mois de ianveir, fevrier, & mars de cette Anneé 1681 was the first book I examined as I began working on the Provenance Project. It is an account of observations of the path of a comet recorded over several months. The author, Giovanni Domenico Cassini (also known by the French translation of his name, Jean-Dominque Cassini), was a 17th century astronomer. He was born in Italy but eventually moved to France where he became a citizen (Zimmerman, 2012). Cassini’s interest in astronomy derived from his study of astrology. He was appointed a position at the Panzano Observatory in Bologna and later became a professor at the University of Bologna. Cassini was known for many things including his observations of comets, planets, and orbital patterns. He was also a knowledgeable mathematician and engineer (Zimmerman, 2012). He believed that the Earth was the center of the universe, which was reflected in his work. He was the first to calculate the rotation of Jupiter and Mars and to see the spots and moons of Jupiter. At the request of Louis XIV, Cassini moved to Paris to become head of the Paris Observatory where he made more significant discoveries such as finding four moons of Saturn and a gap in Saturn’s rings that has since been named the Cassini Division (O’Connor & Robertson, 2003). His son eventually took over his position at the Paris Observatory. Cassini started a family legacy of astronomers, and his influence continues to inspire scientists.
RBMS’ copy of the book, Abregé des observations & des reflexions svr la comete qui a paru au mois de decembre 1680, & aux mois de ianveir, fevrier, & mars de cette Anneé 1681, is a beautiful book with its gilded, leather binding, decorative borders, and detailed illustrations. Some of the most fascinating parts of the book are the three foldouts. The first is a chart of the path of the comet with an illustration of a winged foot. The second is a map of constellations and stars. The third is another chart. The book was one of two works printed at E. Michallet, a publisher that appears to have specialized in scientific work, in that year (Open Library).
A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
While working on the Provenance Project, I was fortunate to come across a copy of Stephen Hawking’s book, A Brief History of Time, in pristine condition. It is not part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection but is actually part of the collection belonging to the Theater Research Institute. I thought it seemed a relevant topic, nonetheless, with the release of the movie, The Theory of Everything, based on a book written by Hawking’s ex-wife, Jane Wilde, about their life together. It occurred to me that the movie has most likely renewed interest in the work. From my personal observations, this seems to be the case. I cannot speak on a national or global level, but when I attempted to check out a copy of the book from my public library, every copy in the system was already on loan. Therefore, I thought it would be interesting to feature some elements of the book that has attracted such a large audience. (See Coyle for more information about the importance of the book.)
Stephen Hawking began his work in physics in the 1960’s and has continued to contribute to the field despite suffering with Lou Gehrig’s disease. The book was first published in 1988 by Bantam Books and was a best seller. It presents some of science’s most fascinating questions in a way that is accessible to the everyday reader. This is a major factor in the book’s ongoing success, selling over 10 million copies, as well as turning Hawking into “a curious kind of cultural icon” (Benford, 2002, Coyle; BBC page). In fact, in an article written about the book for the Wall Street Journal, Hawking talks about what a long and arduous process it was to complete the book and how surprised he was at its immediate success. Hawking states that, “It was on the New York Times best-seller list for 147 weeks and on the London Times best-seller list for a record-breaking 237 weeks, has been translated into 40 languages, and has sold over 10 million copies world-wide” (Hawking, 2013).
The book, in itself, is a fascinating object. A photograph of Hawking sitting in front of a starry background graces the front of both copies held in Special Collections, the book jacket of the original edition and the updated paperback from 1998. Inside there are numerous illustrations, graphs, and diagrams to enjoy. Interestingly, when discussing the reasons people have purchased the book, Hawking claims that some have admitted that they just thought it would look nice on their bookshelf or coffee table (Hawking, 2013).
Hello! My name is Megan Stypinski, and I am interning with Eric Johnson, Curator of Early Books and Manuscripts, at Ohio State Univeristy this summmer to learn about working with Rare Books and Manuscripts Library and Special Collections department. I am currently a graduate student at Kent State University. This opportunity is fulfilling my Culminating Experience requirement for the Masters of Library and Information Science degree.
My specialization is in museum studies, so I will be working with social media to highlight some unique and interesting pieces that I discover while learning about the collections held here at the university. I will also be working on a small exhibit as my final project that I hope to share as well.
Aside from my studies at Kent State, I work as a part-time Circulation Assistant for the Worthington Libraries. I also have a MA in Liberal Studies from Ohio Dominican University as well as a BA in English and a BS of Ed. in Secondary Language Arts from Ohio University. Spending time in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library and learning from the valuable professionals in Ohio State University’s Special Collections is a wonderful way to combine my interest in museums with my work experience in a library setting. I am grateful for the time that I have been granted to learn about the profession, and I hope you enjoy my contributions.
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
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.
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.