This Just In: Jacket Required!

The Congalton collection of 19th-century books in original dust jackets and/or removable coverings as it looked before shipment to Charlottesville.

The Congalton collection of 19th-century books in original dust jackets and/or removable coverings as it looked before shipment to Charlottesville.

Yes, you read that correctly: the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library has implemented a dress code. Um, for books, that is. Henceforth all future book acquisitions from, say, 1880 to the present are requested to arrive suitably attired in original dust jackets whenever possible. Readers may continue to come as they are (within reason).

Friendship's Offering, or the Annual Remembrancer, a Christmas Present or New Year's Gift (London: Lupton Relfe, 1823) was one of the earliest English "gift books," The fragile binding of embossed paper boards was given added protection (and a marketing boost) by a protective cardboard case, onto which was pasted a hand-colored engraved title.

Friendship’s Offering, or the Annual Remembrancer, a Christmas Present or New Year’s Gift (London: Lupton Relfe, 1823) was one of the earliest English “gift books,” The fragile binding of embossed paper boards was given added protection (and a marketing boost) by a protective cardboard case, onto which was pasted a hand-colored engraved title.

Our new policy reflects one of three major acquisitions made this spring: a collection of 700 titles (in 829 volumes) of 19th-century American and English books (with a few European imprints) in original dust jackets and/or removable coverings. Formed over the past two decades by Tom Congalton, proprietor of Between the Covers Rare Books in Gloucester City, NJ, the collection is quite simply the largest such holding ever documented. Add to this the Small Special Collections Library’s existing holdings of nearly 200 19th-century titles, and the combined collection is—by far—the largest known in public or private hands.

A fine example of one of the earliest surviving American dust jackets. The Children's Garland from the Best Poets (Cambridge, Mass.: Sever and Francis, 1863) was issued in several binding styles, as advertised on the front of the dust jacket; this copy is bound in "extra cloth" and was priced at $1.25. The fragile jacket is printed on the spine and front panel only, and it is in the form of a wrap-around band sealed on the reverse. This example was torn open rather than slipped off the book, but otherwise it has been carefully preserved.

A fine example of one of the earliest surviving American dust jackets. The Children’s Garland from the Best Poets (Cambridge, Mass.: Sever and Francis, 1863) was issued in several binding styles, as advertised on the front of the dust jacket; this copy is bound in “extra cloth” and was priced at $1.25. The fragile jacket is printed on the spine and front panel only, and it is in the form of a wrap-around band sealed on the reverse. This example was torn open rather than slipped off the book, but otherwise it has been carefully preserved.

Given the ubiquity of dust jackets on 20th- and 21st-century books, how, you might well ask, could a collection of only a thousand volumes rank as the world’s largest for the 19th century? The answer lies in the changing views of collectors and libraries toward the preservation of these ephemeral coverings. The origins of the dust jacket remain murky—indeed, our new acquisition may now enable scholars to write an authoritative account of its early history—but we can trace dust jackets back to the introduction of publishers’ cloth and printed paper bindings during the 1820s. It was not until a century later, however, that some collectors and libraries began to reconsider their longstanding practice of routinely discarding dust jackets. Today few collectors and special collections libraries would consider throwing away dust jackets—especially early ones—but the damage has been done. Relatively few 19th-century jackets survive in institutional collections, and fewer still are available on the market. Acquiring and preserving these for research purposes will be slow and painstaking work.

The back panel of this dust jacket, on a presentation copy of William Cullen Bryant's The Flood of Years (New York: G.P. Putnam's sons, 1878) is devoted to ads for this and other Putnam titles, with a new marketing innovation: smaller-print "blurbs" have been added for several books.

The back panel of this dust jacket, on a presentation copy of William Cullen Bryant’s The Flood of Years (New York: G.P. Putnam’s sons, 1878) is devoted to ads for this and other Putnam titles, with a new marketing innovation: smaller-print “blurbs” have been added for several books.

Dust jackets and removable coverings originally protected publishers’ bindings, especially those made of more expensive and fragile materials, from fading and excessive wear. When, in the mid-1820s, British and American publishers adopted the German practice of offering “gift books” and annuals bound in silk or fancy printed boards, they also provided decorative cardboard sheaths to protect the delicate bindings. Some publishers also sold books in sealed printed wrappings, which by definition had to be opened and discarded before the book could be read. These wrappings soon evolved into paper jackets with tucked-in flaps, but their adoption by publishers was slow and haphazard until the 1880s. Before then dust jackets tended to be plain or simply printed, carrying little more than author, title, and publisher on the spine and/or front cover.

This color-printed children's book--Robert Bloomfield's The Horkey (London: Macmillan, 1882)--is bound in color-printed paper boards. The dust jacket replicates the color-printed title page design--perhaps color was considered an unnecessary extravagance for this ephemeral covering.

This color-printed children’s book–Robert Bloomfield’s The Horkey (London: Macmillan, 1882)–is bound in color-printed paper boards. The dust jacket replicates the color-printed title page design in a single color–perhaps color was considered an unnecessary extravagance for this ephemeral covering.

Dust jackets came into their own during the 1880s when many publishers adopted the practice. Most continued to be rather plain in design, serving a basic marketing function by identifying the author, title, and sometimes the price. Publishers often used the back panel to advertise their other recent publications, sometimes glossed with promotional “blurbs.” During the 1890s dust jackets were increasingly viewed by publishers as integral components of their marketing efforts. Many were pictorial in nature, often replicating a book’s decorative binding as closely as possible, though publishers freely experimented with dust jacket design. The previously plain jacket flaps were increasingly filled with publishers’ advertisements, blurbs, and other promotional text. Continuing a practice dating to the 1860s, publishers issued some titles for the holiday and gift markets in deluxe bindings protected by dust jackets and/or cardboard boxes. By the early 20th century, publishers began to favor plain edition bindings wrapped in highly decorative dust jackets.

The dust jacket on Arabella Buckley's The Fairy-Land of Science (New York: D. Appleton, 1881) is a very early example of a design which closely replicates in print the elaborate publisher's cloth binding, here stamped in gilt and black ink.

The dust jacket on Arabella Buckley’s The Fairy-Land of Science (New York: D. Appleton, 1881) is a very early example of a design which closely replicates in print the elaborate publisher’s cloth binding, here stamped in gilt and black ink.

Why collect dust jackets at all? The status of modern dust jackets as significant examples of graphic design worthy of serious study and collecting is now firmly established, as is our respect (some might say fetish) for the dust jacket covering a literary first edition. But in the words of G. Thomas Tanselle, dean of American bibliographers, president of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, and author of Book-Jackets: Their History, Forms, and Use (Charlottesville, 2011): “less serious bibliographical attention has been paid to [dust jackets], it is probably safe to say, than to any other prominent feature of modern book production.” The Small Special Collections Library has long collected materials relating to the printing, publishing, distribution, and reception of texts, and it is only fitting that we strengthen our already formidable holdings with the primary sources necessary for studying this neglected aspect of the modern book.

This expensive ($7.50) deluxe copy of W.H. Gibson's Highways and Byways, or Saunterings in New England (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1883) received elaborate and unusual packaging. The publisher's richly gilt binding is stamped on high-quality bookcloth. Protecting the binding is a dust jacket consisting of a large printed advertisement for another Gibson work published by Harper in similar format. The book is laid in the publisher's protective cardboard box bearing advertisements for two Gibson works issued in matching format.

This expensive ($7.50) deluxe copy of W.H. Gibson’s Highways and Byways, or Saunterings in New England (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1883) received elaborate and unusual packaging. The publisher’s richly gilt binding is stamped on high-quality bookcloth. Protecting the binding is a dust jacket consisting of a large printed advertisement for another Gibson work published by Harper in similar format. The book is laid in the publisher’s protective cardboard box bearing advertisements for two Gibson works issued in matching format.

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On View Now: Fred Hagstrom’s “Passage,” “The Little Book of Slavery” and their Origins

The blog has been on summer vacation! We are so pleased to be back with the news that we have a new mini-exhibition ready for visitors! We encourage you to stop by the First Floor Gallery to take a look at  “Fred Hagstrom’s Passage, The Little Book of Slavery and their Origins.”

hagstrom_caseThis exhibition features two recently acquired artists’ books that draw on artifacts deeply rooted in our collections of African-American history and slavery-related materials.Using iconic images and texts from the transatlantic slave trade and the anti-slavery movement, American artist Fred Hagstrom produces a compelling interpretation of this history. On display with Hagstrom’s books are artifacts the artist used as the conceptual foundations of his artistic statements about the immorality of slavery. In both books, he produces heavy layers of texture and color in his interpretations of the iconic diagram of the slave ship Brookes, photographs, engravings, and texts from the era of slavery.

Of particular note is Hagstrom’s use of our library’s famous daguerrotype of Isaac Granger Jefferson, who was enslaved by Thomas Jefferson. Visitors may compare the original image with Hagstrom’s interpretation of it.

This daguerrotype of Isaac Granger Jefferson is frequently reproduced as an historical artifact; Hagstrom's pixellated image of it, juxtaposed with high-resolution close-ups of the equally iconic image of the "Slave Ship Brookes," opens new interpretive possiblities.

This daguerrotype of Isaac Granger Jefferson is frequently reproduced as an historical artifact; Hagstrom’s exaggeratedly pixellated image of it, juxtaposed with high-resolution close-ups of the equally iconic image of the “Slave Ship Brookes,” opens new interpretive possiblities. (MSS 2041. Tracy W. McGregor Library of American History)

Detail of Hagstrom's Passage as it is exhibited.

The page featuring Isaac Granger Jefferson in  “Passage,” as it is exhibited. (N7433.4 .H34 P37 2013. Associates Endowment Fund)

hagstrom_brookes

Also on display is one of our copies of the famous diagram of “The British Slave Ship Brookes,” as it appeared in “An Abstract of the Evidence Delivered Before a Select Committee of the House of Commons, in the Years 1790 and 1790.” Edinburgh, Printed for J. Robertson, 1791. (HT1162 .a5 1791 no.1 Plate)

This exhibition offers just a glimpse into Mr. Hagstrom’s work, which we hope will be a fertile ground for study by students and scholars alike. Our artists’ books collections cover a wide variety of genres, aesthetic approaches, and subject matter, and we are particularly interested in examples that relate to our varied collecting strengths. Perhaps this exhibit will tempt you to come take a closer look at Passage or The Little Book of Slavery in our reading room after the exhibition comes down. Until then,  here are some more of the striking justapositions to be found in Passage:

The front cover of Passage. Image courtesy of the artist.

The front cover of “Passage.” Image by Peter Lee, courtesy of Fred Hagstrom.

A page spread in Passage. Image courtesy of the artist.

A page spread from “Passage.” (Click twice to zoom in to read the text.) Image by Peter Lee, courtesy of Fred Hagstrom.

Passage pages 5 (2)

A page spread from “Passage.” (Click twice to zoom in to read the text.) Image by Peter Lee, courtesy of Fred Hagstrom.

You can learn more about Hagstrom’s work on his Carleton College website.

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This Just In: Spring Miscellany

U.Va.’s Final Exercises have concluded, and Grounds is quiet this week. Shortly the summer session will begin (as well as the inevitable summer construction projects), and both temperature and humidity will, no doubt, rise. Under Grounds it is busyness as usual as we catch up with what so far has been a banner spring for acquisitions. Following is a random selection of some early printed books newly added to our shelves.

A stellar eclipse! This engraved portrait of astronomer Tycho Brahe is actually a cancel slip pasted over another engraved portrait inadvertently printed on the wrong leaf. Note how the lower left corner is lifting upward, and the engraved border of the underlying portrait visible at left. Giacomo Filippo Tomasini, Illustrium virorum elogia iconibus illustrata (Padua, 1630), p. 242.   (CT1122 .T6 1630)

A stellar eclipse! This engraved portrait of astronomer Tycho Brahe is actually a cancel slip pasted over another engraved portrait inadvertently printed on the wrong leaf. Note how the lower left corner is lifting upward, and the engraved border of the underlying portrait is visible at left. Giacomo Filippo Tomasini, Illustrium virorum elogia iconibus exornata (Padua, 1630), p. 242. (CT1122 .T6 1630)

Giacomo Filippo Tomasini’s Illustrium virorum elogia iconibus exornata (Padua, 1630) is a collection of biographies of noted scientists, astronomers, doctors, jurists, and theologians, most of whom lived in Padua and taught at its famous university. Of special note are the bibliographies of each subject’s writings, and the fine full-page engraved portraits by the French artist Jérôme David. Indeed, it was the engraved portrait of Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe that caught our eye in a bookseller’s booth at the New York International Antiquarian Book Fair last month. Unbeknownst to the dealer, this portrait is actually a cancel pasted over a different engraved portrait inadvertently printed in the wrong place! During the hand-press period, serious printing errors were typically corrected by “cancelling” an entire leaf and replacing it with a corrected replacement leaf or, as here, by pasting a cancel slip over the portion needing correction. Text cancels are fairly common in early printed books, but a cancel illustration is rarely encountered.

Engraved reproduction of the famous Dove Mosaic discovered by Giuseppe Alessandro Furietti at Hadrian's Villa and now in Rome's Capitoline Museum. Furietti believed it to be the actual mosaic created by Sosus for the royal palace at Pergamon, as described by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History. Giuseppe Alessandro Furietti, De musivis (Rome, 1752), plate [1].   (NA3750 .F8 1752)

Engraved reproduction of the famous Dove Mosaic discovered by Giuseppe Alessandro Furietti at Hadrian’s Villa and now in Rome’s Capitoline Museum. Furietti believed it to be the actual mosaic created by Sosus for the royal palace at Pergamon, as described by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History. Giuseppe Alessandro Furietti, De musivis (Rome, 1752), plate [1]. (NA3750 .F8 1752)

De musivis (Rome, 1752), by the Italian antiquarian and cleric Giuseppe Alessandro Furietti, is one of the earliest scholarly works devoted to Roman mosaics. Written just as the rediscovery of Pompeii and Herculaneum was inspiring new interest in Greek and Roman antiquities, Furietti’s work summarizes what was then known about Roman mosaics, incorporating new findings from Furietti’s own excavations at Hadrian’s Villa. Of particular interest are Furietti’s notes on the musivarii (the Roman artisans responsible for the figurative portions of mosaics), as well as his comments on mosaic art in Italy since the fall of the Roman Empire.

A cartographer's tools, from Manoel de Azevedo Fortes, Tratado do modo o mais facil, e o mais exacto de fazer as cartas geograficas (Lisbon, 1722), plate 3.   (GA102.3 .F67 1722)

A cartographer’s tools, from Manoel de Azevedo Fortes, Tratado do modo o mais facil, e o mais exacto de fazer as cartas geograficas (Lisbon, 1722), plate 3. (GA102.3 .F67 1722)

Special Collections is well known for its distinguished cartographic holdings—particularly of maps and atlases concerning the discovery and exploration of North America—and recently we added the perfect complement: one of the earliest printed manuals on mapmaking. Cartography had long been an essential skill for military engineers and surveyors, who could turn to printed works in their fields for guidance, but manuals specifically directed at cartographers were a late development. Manoel de Azevedo Fortes’s rare Tratado do modo o mais facil, e o mais exacto de fazer as cartas geograficas … (Lisbon, 1722) was the first such manual in Portuguese. Fortes based his work in part on French manuals. Although he writes in part for a military audience, Fortes directs this work primarily at fellow members of Portugal’s Royal Academy of History who desire to complement their writings with maps. Of particular interest are his comments on cartographic symbols and map coloring.

A lesson in caricature: examples of various noses, profiles, and head shapes. Francis Grose, Rules for drawing caricaturas, 2nd ed. (London, 1796), plate IV.   (NC1320 .G76 1796)

A lesson in caricature: examples of various noses, profiles, and head shapes. Francis Grose, Rules for drawing caricaturas, 2nd ed. (London, 1796), plate IV. (NC1320 .G76 1796)

We have also acquired another early manual on an entirely different subject: the art of caricature. A well known English antiquary and scholar of English slang, Francis Grose (1731-1791) was also an amateur artist who delighted in “comic painting.” In Rules for drawing caricaturas: with an essay on comic painting, Grose sought to explain how artists such as Hogarth and Gilpin manipulated the human form and visage for comic effect. This second, expanded edition, published posthumously in London in 1796, includes 21 plates, seventeen of which were etched by Grose himself. Most are caricatures of himself and his fellow antiquaries.

Front cover of David Claypoole Johnston, Scraps no. 1, new series (Boston, 1849).    (E166 .J65 1849)

Front cover of David Claypoole Johnston, Scraps no. 1, new series (Boston, 1849). (E166 .J65 1849)

The art of caricature soon took root in the United States, thanks in part to the influence of English émigré artists. One of the most famous antebellum American cartoonists was David Claypoole Johnston (1798-1865), who excelled in many artistic media. Some of his best cartoon “Scraps” were published from 1828 to 1849 in a series of numbered portfolios, of which we recently acquired two. Their etchings poke fun at contemporary events such as the Mexican-American War, emerging issues such as women’s rights, contemporary fads such as phrenology, and, of course, the art world.

One of the cartoon "scraps" in David Claypoole Johnston, Scraps no. 1, new series (Boston, 1849)   (E166 .J65 1849)

One of the cartoon “scraps” in David Claypoole Johnston, Scraps no. 1, new series (Boston, 1849) (E166 .J65 1849)

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This Just In: Printing Planographically

Title page to Jean Midolle, Album du Moyen Âge (Strasbourg, 1836)  ( NK3630 .M53 1836)

Title page to Jean Midolle, Album du Moyen Âge (Strasbourg, 1836) ( NK3630 .M53 1836)

In recent months U.Va. has had unusual opportunities to enhance its already strong collections on 19th-century planographic printing. Prior to the invention of lithography by Alois Senefelder in 1796, printers used a variety of relief (letterpress, woodcut &c.) and intaglio (engraving, etching &c.) processes for replicating text and image. Senefelder’s innovative method of printing from a flat surface offered printers a new tool which, thanks to continuing refinement during the 19th century, emerged as the leading method for printing multicolor illustrations. And by the later 20th century, offset lithography would supplant letterpress as the preferred method for printing text.

A lithographed plate from Konrad Ludwig Schwab. Anatomische Abbildungen des Pferdekörpers (Munich, 1820 ) (SF765 .S45 1820)

A lithographed plate from Konrad Ludwig Schwab. Anatomische Abbildungen des Pferdekörpers (Munich, 1820 ) (SF765 .S45 1820)

Because the technologies of lithography inform many aspects of 19th-century printing, the graphic arts, and book culture, the Small Special Collections Library has long sought to acquire a representative collection of technical manuals and printing specimens documenting lithography’s gradual ascendancy. Included are rare lithographic “incunabula” printed up to ca. 1820. Five years ago we were fortunate to acquire a fine copy of Konrad Ludwig Schwab’s Anatomische Abbildungen des Pferdekörpers (1813) published (as were many of the earliest lithographed books) in Munich, and illustrated with several large plates depicting horse anatomy. To it we have now added the equally rare second edition (Munich, 1820). This is no mere reprint, for the plates have been redone in more accomplished fashion, demonstrating how far lithography had progressed in only a few short years.

An early lithographic press and related equipment as depicted in Antoine Raucourt de Charleville, A manual of lithography, or memoir on the lithographical experiments made in Paris (2nd ed., London, 1821)  (NE2420 .R25 1821)

An early lithographic press and related equipment as depicted in Antoine Raucourt de Charleville, A manual of lithography, or memoir on the lithographical experiments made in Paris (2nd ed., London, 1821) (NE2420 .R25 1821)

Lithography quickly spread throughout Europe and beyond, particularly after 1818 when Senefelder published the first comprehensive manual. Others followed in quick succession, and through these we can trace the many technical innovations introduced during the 1820s and 1830s. By 1819 English printers could read not only Senefelder’s work, but also the leading French manual (by Antoine Raucourt de Charleville) in an English translation prepared by the London lithographer Charles Hullmandell. We recently acquired the second edition (1821), to which Hullmandell appended plates depicting a lithographic press, which looked and operated far differently from relief and intaglio presses. Another recent acquisition is the very rare Mémoire sur l’art du lithographe (Paris, [1829]) of Alphonse Chevallier. Included is a set of progressive plates illustrating Chevallier’s methods for creating certain artistic effects lithographically.

Two stages in the creation of a lithographic image, from Alphonse Chevallier, Mémoire sur l’art du lithographe (Paris, [1829])  (NE2420 .C54 1829)

Two stages in the creation of a lithographic image, from Alphonse Chevallier, Mémoire sur l’art du lithographe (Paris, [1829]) (NE2420 .C54 1829)

Lithography flourished in the late 19th century with the perfection of new technologies (most notably chromolithography and photolithography), improved equipment (especially steam-powered presses), and its application to new markets such as advertising matter and commercial packaging. Camillo Doyen’s rare Trattato di litografia: storico, teorico, pratico ed economico (Turin, 1877) is typical of later lithographic manuals: massive, richly detailed, and full of useful insights into regional practices.

A steam-powered lithographic press illustrated in Camillo, Doyen, Trattato di litografia: storico, teorico, pratico ed economico (Turin, 1877)  (NE2425 .D68 1877)

A steam-powered lithographic press illustrated in Camillo, Doyen, Trattato di litografia: storico, teorico, pratico ed economico (Turin, 1877) (NE2425 .D68 1877)

By 1900 German and Austrian lithographers were perhaps the most accomplished in Europe, producing high quality book illustrations and other work for publishers as far afield as the United States. The text and sample plates to Friedrich Hesse’s Die Chromolithographie (2nd ed., Halle, 1906) are important for understanding and identifying the many variant processes in the commercial lithographer’s toolkit.

A specimen chromolithographed map inserted as a plate in Friedrich Hesse, Die Chromolithographie (Halle, 1906)  (NE2500 .H47 1906)

A specimen chromolithographed map inserted as a plate in Friedrich Hesse, Die Chromolithographie (Halle, 1906) (NE2500 .H47 1906)

Printers have long sought to demonstrate and advertise their prowess through specimen work, and lithographers have been no exception. Perhaps the finest early chromolithographic printing was that executed by the Strasbourg firm of Frédéric Émile Simon. During the 1830s Simon teamed with the innovative calligrapher Jean Midolle to issue three extraordinary specimen books, one of which we have now acquired: Album du Moyen Âge (1836). That many of its plates are heightened with dusted gold, silver, and bronze powders, and even some discreet hand coloring, does not detract from their beauty and technical mastery. Fifty years later the Swedish sign painter advertised his work to potential clients by issuing Skyltmotiv (1884), a very rare portfolio containing 30 sample designs of his best work. Here the ability of Stockholm chromolithographer C. A. Carlsson to reproduce woodgraining and three-dimensional effects planographically is nothing short of miraculous.

A chromolithographic tour de force  from Frithiof Telenius, Skyltmotiv (Stockholm, 1884)

A chromolithographic tour de force from Frithiof Telenius, Skyltmotiv (Stockholm, 1884)

By 1900 it was not unusual for lithographers to print chromolithographic images in 20 or more colors, each applied with a different lithographic stone. A successful image required not only perfect registration, but the careful application of colors in proper sequence to achieve the desired effect. How this was done is illustrated through a set of progressive proofs we recently acquired. Formerly in the archive of the American Lithographic Co., it comprises the firm’s official set of 39 proofs documenting job no. 7038K: a cigar box label printed ca. 1900. Many proofs bear annotations indicating corrections to be made, followed by the corrected proofs. At front is the completed image (still marked for correction) showing at bottom a color bar with the ten hues employed, applied in sequence from right to left.

Proof of a 10-color chromolithographed cigar box label, marked up for correction (NE2515 .A54 1900)

Proof of a 10-color chromolithographed cigar box label, marked up for correction (NE2515 .A54 1900)

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Tales from Under Grounds: Mr. Jefferson, his Women and his University

This is the last in a series of four posts, spotlighting the mini-exhibitions of students from USEM 1570: Researching History.

Tales from Under Grounds, Auditorium of the Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections, November 19, 2013. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

Tales from Under Grounds, Auditorium of the Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections, November 19, 2013. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

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Laura McCarthy, Second-Year Student

Laura McCarthy introduces herself at Tales from Under Grounds, November 19, 2013. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

Laura McCarthy introduces herself at Tales from Under Grounds, November 19, 2013. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

Martha Jefferson Randolph: Her Time in the Spotlight

Martha Jefferson Randolph was born to Thomas Jefferson and Martha Wayles Skelton in the fall of 1772.  As the only child to outlive Thomas Jefferson, Martha Randolph was endowed with the task of continuing her father’s esteemed legacy.  During her lifetime, Randolph went above and beyond the duties assigned to the typical southern lady.  As a mother of eleven, first lady, alumnae of an exclusive Parisian school, and head of the Monticello estate, Randolph lived a life full of ambition, grace, and fortitude.

(Image by Petrina Jackson)

Draft of Martha Jefferson Randolph’s Will, 1834, from the Papers of the Randolph Family of Edgehill. In 1834, two years before her death, Martha Jefferson Randolph drafted a copy of her will, delineating the recipients of the property she planned to leave behind.  These recipients include, but are not limited to, her five daughters, Mr. Coolidge (her son-in-law) and George Randolph (her son).   She divides up her funds and other prized possessions, such as her father’s clock and includes her intentions for the futures of her slaves.  For example, she states, “To Betsy Hemmings, Sally and Wormley, I wish my children to give their time.”  By this, Randolph is indicating that she wishes for these enslaved people to have an informal emancipation which allows them to stay in the state of Virginia, instead of having to leave in one year as in the case of those formally emancipated. (MSS 1397. Image by Petrina Jackson)

Martha Jefferson Randolph’s Music Book. Monticello Music Collection. Music was an important aspect of the Jefferson family household.  Both Thomas Jefferson and his wife Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson were keen on music.  For example, while the two were in courtship, Thomas Jefferson presented a pianoforte to Martha Wayles Skelton as a gift.  Undoubtedly, the Jefferson’s raised their daughter Martha Jefferson Randolph to respect music in much the same way as they did.  Martha Randolph started practicing music when she was 11, and, in 1784, went to Paris to study music along with drawing and literature.  This music book owned by Martha Jefferson Randolph contains six Sonatas by Bach and one trio by Mozart. (MSS 3177-a. On Deposit from the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

Martha Jefferson Randolph’s Music Book. Monticello Music Collection. Music was an important aspect of the Jefferson family household. Both Thomas Jefferson and his wife Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson were keen on music. For example, while the two were in courtship, Thomas Jefferson presented a pianoforte to Martha Wayles Skelton as a gift. Undoubtedly, the Jefferson’s raised their daughter Martha Jefferson Randolph to respect music in much the same way as they did. Martha Randolph started practicing music when she was 11, and, in 1784, went to Paris to study music along with drawing and literature. This music book owned by Martha Jefferson Randolph contains six Sonatas by Bach and one trio by Mozart. (MSS 3177-a. On Deposit from the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

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Elvera Santos, First-Year Student

    Elvera Santos posed with her mini-exhibition, November 19, 2013. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

Elvera Santos posed with her mini-exhibition, November 19, 2013. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: You Decide

Displaying several historical resources, this exhibition about the 38-year liaison between Thomas Jefferson and his slave mistress, Sally Hemings, provides an eye opening experience to a debate that has been going on since the late 18th-century.  The writings of Jefferson contemporaries and family members, such as Dumas Malone and, Ellen Wayles Randolph discount the relationship.  On the other hand, the accounts of other contemporaries, like John Carpenter, John Hartwell Cocke, and John Rutledge support the relationship.

Sally Hemings was the half-sister of Thomas Jefferson’s late wife, Martha Wayles Jefferson.  The relationship is believed to have begun in France when Sally Hemings served as the maid to Thomas Jefferson’s daughter. Many say Thomas Jefferson fathered Sally Hemings’s five children who lived passed childhood.  Whether or not you choose to believe is for you to decide.

    Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge Letter to Joseph Coolidge (her husband). October, 24, 1858. Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge was the grand-daughter of Thomas Jefferson.  In her letter to her husband, she defends Jefferson against the allegations that he kept a mistress.  She calls on the evidence of his character as proof against the allegations.  She, furthermore, presents an alternative for explaining Sally Hemings's children’s’ striking resemblance to Mr. Jefferson, claiming that it was Colonel Carr (a cousin) that fathered Sally Hemings’s children.  (MSS 9090. Purchase and Gift. Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

Ellen W. Randolph Coolidge Letter to Joseph Coolidge (her husband). October, 24, 1858. Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge was the grand-daughter of Thomas Jefferson. In her letter to her husband, she defends Jefferson against the allegations that he kept a mistress. She calls on the evidence of his character as proof against the allegations. She, furthermore, presents an alternative for explaining Sally Hemings’s children’s’ striking resemblance to Mr. Jefferson, claiming that it was Colonel Carr (a cousin) that fathered Sally Hemings’s children. (MSS 9090. Purchase and Gift. Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

(MSS 640. Image by Petrina Jackson)

John Hartwell Cocke diary, 23 April 1859.  In this entry, John Hartwell Cocke mentions a relationship between Thomas Jefferson and a mulatto, mixed race, slave.  He treats the situation as a common and accepted occurrence in Virginia.  It is worth noting that the journal entry was recorded 30 years after Thomas Jefferson’s death, so the events mentioned are recollections. (MSS 640. Image by Petrina Jackson.)

(MSS 640. Image by Petrina Jackson)

John Hartwell Cocke diary, April 23, 1859. In his diary, he writes, “Mr. Jefferson’s notorious example is considered,” in reference to the practice of slave owners taking their female slaves as mistresses.  He continued, “In Virginia, this damnable practice prevails as much as anywhere—probably more—as Mr. Jefferson’s example can be pleaded for its defense.” (MSS 640. Image by Petrina Jackson)

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Chad Hogan, First-Year Student

Chad Hogan, seated behind his exhibition, November 19, 2013. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

Chad Hogan, seated behind his exhibition, November 19, 2013. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

The Founding of the University of Virginia

In 1817, Thomas Jefferson assembled the first meeting of the Central College Board of Visitors. At this first meeting, Jefferson and the Board passed the new rules and procedures for the College as they pursued the opportunity to create a new University for the state of Virginia. While the University changed its name to the University of Virginia in 1819, Jefferson and the Board continued to create the foundation of the University. The University officially opened on March 7th, 1825 and featured eight different schools for its students to attend. Since its opening, the University of Virginia has used that foundation to continue its growth and attract students to Charlottesville.

This mini-exhibition shows some of the University’s earliest documents and their significance to the opening of the University. It starts with the first minute book of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors, in which Jefferson documents the Board’s first meetings, and ends with the official opening of the University in 1825.

    Minute Book of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors, 1817-1828. The Minute Book of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors is a record of the first meetings of the University’s Board of Visitors from 1817-1828. The book, written mostly by Thomas Jefferson, documents the history of the University from its formation as Central College in 1817 to its early years as the University of Virginia in 1828. The book also outlines all of the rules and procedures of the Board and includes the costs of building the University. While the book has been copied to create many facsimiles for the University, Special Collections still owns the original book. (RG-1/1/1.101. University of Virginia Archives. Image by Digitization Services.)

Minute Book of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors, 1817-1828. The Minute Book of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors is a record of the first meetings of the University’s Board of Visitors from 1817-1828. The book, written mostly by Thomas Jefferson, documents the history of the University from its formation as Central College in 1817 to its early years as the University of Virginia in 1828. The book also outlines all of the rules and procedures of the Board and includes the costs of building the University. While the book has been copied to create many facsimiles for the University, Special Collections still owns the original book. (RG-1/1/1.101. University of Virginia Archives. Image by Digitization Services.)

Page two of the Minute Book of the Board of Visitors, written in Thomas Jefferson's hand, 1819.

Page two of the Minute Book of the Board of Visitors, written in Thomas Jefferson’s hand, May 5, 1817. (RG-1/1/1.101. University of Virginia Archives. Image by Digitization Services.)

Page three of the Minute Book of the Board of Visitors, written in Jefferson's hand and signed by

Page three of the Minute Book of the Board of Visitors, written in Jefferson’s hand and signed by Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, James Madison, and John H. Cocke, May 5, 1817. (RG-1/1/1.101. University of Virginia Archives. Image by Digitization Services.)

 

Maverick Plan

Maverick Plan Engraving of the University of Virginia, 1825.  In this 1825 engraving, Peter Maverick outlines one of the final designs for the Academical Village before the opening of the University. The engraving includes a detailed drawing of the Rotunda as well as a hand-written description of all the pavilions. The engraving also displays the layout for student housing. (MSS 171. Image by Digitization Services)

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Corey Bothwell, First-Year Student

Guest enjoy Corey Bothwell's exhibition, November 19, 2013. (Photograph by Petrina Jackson.)

Guest enjoy Corey Bothwell’s exhibition, November 19, 2013. (Photograph by Petrina Jackson.)

The Civil War Soldiers from the University of Virginia

The Civil War, the all-encompassing, defining war of 19th-century America, did not spare its toll on Charlottesville. Regiments of men willing to lay down their lives for the Confederate States of America sprang up in Charlottesville and across the greater Albemarle county area to defend their stake in their hometown and in their land. The University’s own students and faculty were willing to take the risks associated with warfare in order to resist the “Wicked Government at Washington.”

This exhibition highlights a portion of these students and attempts to paint a small portrait of their short time as soldiers. The majority marched on to Harper’s Ferry to attempt to secure the arms held there. They were then ordered back to the University by the governor, as he refused their entrance into state service on account of “too much talent in one body.” Many students did end up making it into state service, and many of these University soldiers would give their lives for what they believed in.

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Gildersleeve, J. R. Revised Roster of the Southern Guard and Sons of Liberty, 1911. This roster lists the names of students organized for two military companies during 1860-1861 term – “The Sons of Liberty” and “The Southern Guard”. These “University Volunteers” would join with local Charlottesville forces and other local Confederate companies and march on to Harper’s Ferry where they would attempt to seize control of it. An excerpt from the faculty journal explains how the aim of this raid is to secure advantage for Virginia “in the attitude of resistance she is about to assume towards the Wicked Government at Washington.” (MSS 38-388. Image by Digitization Services)

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Photograph of a Reunion of University of Virginia Confederate Veterans by Holsinger Studio, June 11, 1912. Pictured here are 28 veterans of the 118 invited to attend a reunion of surviving Confederate Alumni from the years between 1860 and 1865. Note the confederate flag on the car in the background. (RG-30/1/1.801. University of Virginia Visual History Collection. Image by Digitization Services.)

 

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ABCs of Special Collections: Z is for…

Can you believe that 52 weeks have passed, and we have come to the final installation of the ABCs of Special Collections? Yes, folks, we have come to the letter:

(Photograph by Liz Ott)

Z is for Zine (HN65 .R54 2013 no.12. Photograph by Liz Ott)

Z is for Morton Dauwen Zabel

Morton Dauwen Zabel was a critic who wore many hats, including those of author, associate editor and then editor of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, following the death of his friend and editor of the publication, Harriet Monroe in 1936. Although Zabel’s papers are at the University of Chicago and Newberry Library, several items in Special Collections illustrate the wide extent of his career in letters.

Contributed by Sharon Defibaugh, Manuscripts and Archives Processor

Literary Opinion in America, Zabel’s most notable book, in two volumes (PS 3511 .A86 Z8525 1962 edition. Photograph by Donna Stapley)

Literary Opinion in America, Zabel’s most notable book, in two volumes (PS 3511 .A86 Z8525 1962 edition. Gift of Linton R. Massey. Photograph by Donna Stapley)

Poems for Every Mood, compiled by Harriet Monroe and Zabel (PS 3545 .I544L65 1933. Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature. Photograph by Donna Stapley.)

Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, several issues showing the transition of Zabel from associate editor to editor (PS 3523 .I58Z99 .P66. Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature. Photograph by Donna Stapley)

His poem “The Traitors” appearing in The Times Literary Supplement on American writing (PS221 .T5 1954. Photograph by Donna Stapley)

His poem “The Traitors” as it appears in The Times Literary Supplement on American writing (PS221 .T5 1954. Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature. Photograph by Donna Stapley)

Z is for Zephyrus

Zephyrus is the Greek god of the west wind, the gentlest of the winds and the messenger of spring. But Zephyrus is also the name of an early music, vocal ensemble founded in 1991 by Dr. Paul Walker.  The group, based in Charlottesville, is dedicated to the performance of music from the medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque eras.

Contributed by Sharon Defibaugh, Manuscripts and Archives Processor

(Photograph by Donna Stapley)

CDs of Zephyrus performances, 2001 and 2002. (Disks 0045, 0046, and 0047. Photograph by Donna Stapley)

(Photograph by Donna Stapley)

Zephyrus concert flyer, 2009. (Photograph by Donna Stapley)

Z is for Zine Fest

Since 2007, Richmond, Virginia has hosted a community organized Zine Fest annually to promote the creation and distribution of zines. The Richmond Zine Fest Collection is an eclectic mix of zines, pamphlets, and fliers acquired at the Zine Fest in 2013. Zines celebrate a DIY aesthetic, are often self-published, and may engage in acts of artistic, social, or political protest. The Richmond Zine Fest Collection includes zines on topics such as prison reform, anarchism, and grass roots organizing, often with a brash and cheeky sense of humor. Titles include “Self defense for activists,” “Anarchism: what it is and what it ain’t,” “Holy shit, my job is dangerous,” and “Draft dodger.”

Contributed by Elizabeth Ott, Student Curatorial Assistant

(Photograph by Liz Ott)

Zines from the Richmond Zine Fest. (HN65 .R54 2013 no.31-57. Photograph by Liz Ott)

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Zines from the Richmond Zine Fest. (HN65 .R54 2013 no.1-30. Photograph by Liz Ott)

Z is for Louis Zukofsky

American poet Louis Zukofsky was a founding member of the Objectivist group that believed a poem should be viewed as an object and should aim for sincerity and a clear-eyed vision of the world. His mentors and sometime collaborators included Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and Lorine Niedecker. While Zukofsky never attained a wide audience in his lifetime, his influence among poets was considerable, eventually informing and influencing the Black Mountain Poets and the Beats, among others.
A search of our online catalog shows over 50 entries related to Mr. Zukofsky.

Contributed by George Riser, Collections and Instruction Assistant

(PS614 .Z8 1932. Image by Petrina Jackson)

Shown here is a 1932 issue of An Objectivists Anthology. (PS614 .Z8 1932. Image by Petrina Jackson)

1946 copy of ANEW (PS3549 .U47A8 1946. Gift of Marvin Tatum. Image by Petrina Jackson.)

1946 copy of ANEW (PS3549 .U47A8 1946. Gift of Marvin Tatum. Image by Petrina Jackson.)

Alas, we have come to the end of our alphabetical journey.  We thank you all for joining us and encourage you to watch for an invitation in the near future to take another, yet different, trip to explore the wonderful treasures of Special Collections!

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Goodbye, Special Collections!: Two graduating student assistants reflect

This week, we are pleased to feature a guest post by two graduating students: Christina Balangue and Alex Valdez. Christina and Alex are long-time student assistants in Special Collections and have generously agreed to tell the blog a bit about their work down in the stacks. We will be so sad to see them go!

CHRISTINA: I’m a fourth year at U.Va.’s McIntire School of Commerce, concentrating in accounting. I started working at Special Collections the summer of my first year. After graduation, I will be joining PwC as a tax associate in the private company services group, preparing entity and partnership returns for clients in the greater Washington Metro area.

ALEX: I’ve been working at Special Collections since February 2012. I am also a fourth year but I am majoring in sociology and economics. My plans for after graduation remain fuzzy, but I’m hoping to get involved in social policy research and consulting.

CHRISTINA: The first thing that students realize about the stacks is it’s cold. Not plain cold—parka cold. So we often start our shifts with as much hustle and bustle as possible in order to warm up and acclimate. This means shelving new books, re-shelving pulled books, and pulling patron requests. Re-shelving books and pulling patron requests is one of the first things that students learn in the stacks. Every day, the ding of the dumbwaiter echoes in the stacks, signaling to students that items need to be retrieved from the shelves and sent to the reference desk. After the patrons find what they’re looking for (or not), the items get sent down to be re-shelved.

Christina gets ready to send a book up to the reading room in the dumb waiter.

Christina gets ready to put a patron request in the dumb waiter to be sent up to the reading room.

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Brendan Fox, Stacks Supervisor, and Christina with a truckful of books and boxes to be reshelved.

CHRISTINA: New shelving is a task most of us learned on our first day on the job. It’s simple enough: take a cart of newly acquired materials and place them on the shelf accompanied by a colored flag. This allows our supervisor, Brendan, to check and ensure the book is shelved accurately. Most students, including myself, dread new shelving. While I can’t pinpoint an exact reason for my dislike, the fact remains that every time I see a cart of new books, I turn around and dash to find another task, leaving the new books for the next unsuspecting stacks student to discover.

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Christina flagging a new book so that her supervisor can double-check the location.

ALEX: If we’re not putting something away or wandering through the aisles trying to find something, then we’re probably in the preservation area. Here, we carry out tasks meant to protect Special Collection treasures from the many destructive elements threatening an item’s long-term survival (and yes, we are as dramatic about this job as I make it sound). The first task we learn is how to mylar. We create specialized plastic wraps for books with fragile paper dust jackets or fading front covers to prevent the paper from being torn or the covers from fading further.

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Christina prepares a mylar cover for a book with a paper dust jacket.

ALEX: The second preservation duty we take on is the construction of phase boxes. These are acid-free cardboard boxes custom-designed to fit each individual book. Their job is to hold together books that are falling apart. In our experience, this task appears particularly daunting to the newbie student employee because of its many steps. You get the hang of it eventually, though, and it has actually become my favorite Special Collections job!

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Alex working on a phase box.

CHRISTINA: Special Collections also collects lots of serial publications from the New Yorker to the obscure Crime Times.  We’re responsible for housing and shelving these materials. What’s my favorite part of shelving serials? Sneaking a peek at this week’s New Yorker Caption Contest winner.

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Student assistant Ashlyn Walker with the special serials truck, preparing to put new issues of serial publications into the stacks.

ALEX: Whenever we come into contact with an item that requires unusual housing or has a call number that can’t be found in Virgo, we reach out to our fellow student employees for help. We also often work together to barcode items and make sure the records we have on file are correct.

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Alex and Ashlyn work together to determine why the call number of a phaseboxed book isn’t showing up in U.Va.’s online catalog, Virgo

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Alex and Christina barcode a truck of books that have just been through the preservation process

CHRISTINA: There are many reasons I love working at Special Collections. Being surrounded by rare materials published hundreds of years ago, and protecting these items, are just the tip of the iceberg. What I will miss the most when I graduate are the people working here.  The smiles, care, and trust that I have received from both student and library employees are incomparable and this is why coming to work is always such a pleasure. Special Collections, thank you for a wonderful four years.

ALEX: I enjoy working here because I love U.Va.’s collections. From the miniature books that are no bigger than my thumb to the elephant folios that weigh a ton, I’m fascinated by them all and honored to be able to help with their preservation. Like Christina said, the people we get to work with here are also amazing. Their passion for the materials inspires me and they’re actually all just fun to be around. It’ll be a difficult goodbye, but I am grateful to have been surrounded by such wonderful company over these last few years.

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Here’s the timesheet where we record the hours we have worked…it’s our favorite thing.

Thank you, Alex and Christina, for all your wonderful work over the years. We can’t say enough about how much we appreciate your dedication. And congratulations on your upcoming graduations! WAHOOWA!

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This Just In: Display Fonts and Clip Art and Show Cards, oh my!

This week, we are pleased to feature a guest post from curatorial assistant Elizabeth Ott, who is a doctoral candidate in the English Department. Liz recently produced preliminary catalog records for the collection she discusses in this post.

Special Collections is known for our fantastic collections in the history of type design; this strength just expanded dramatically with the generous gift of approximately 300 books on typography, letterforms, calligraphy, show cards, and graphic design given by the prolific American type designer Nicholas Curtis (b. 1948). Curtis, a resident of Charlottesville, has had a long a varied career as a graphic artist and type designer dating back the late 1960s when he got his start designing rock posters. He now operates his own independent type foundry, Nick’s Fonts, and his type designs can be found everywhere from Trader Joe’s labels to the titles for the recent film Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)—in fact, Curtis is also responsible for many of those super-condensed fonts you see at the foot of film posters, which help cram in the names of a film’s key cast and crew.

Some of Nick Curtis's type designs. The influence of hand lettering from across the decades may be seen in his faces.

Some of Nick Curtis’s type designs. The influence of lettering and type design from across the decades may be seen in his faces.

The range of books in the Curtis gift reflects Curtis’s eclectic style and nostalgic designs. It includes items such as specimen catalogs from nineteenth-century type foundries, how-to guides for producing calligraphy alphabets, books of clip art for early computers, and many manuals for creating show cards. Most of the items in the gift relate to commercial art and offer a glimpse behind the curtain of nineteenth and twentieth-century graphic design. The show card manuals, in particular, offer an example of a now-obscure commercial art profession that had a profound impact on the visual and print culture of nineteenth and twentieth century America.

Show cards (sometimes show-cards, sho-cards, or sho’ cards) were hand-lettered signs used for local advertising and incidental labeling, popular to the point of near ubiquity between about 1880 and 1920, though the practice of show card writing survived well into the sixties. Show cards filled a niche role in early twentieth-century advertising distinct from printed posters or painted signs, allowing shops, restaurants, and other local businesses to produce inexpensive displays for goods and services. Typical show cards were small in scale, at most 11 by 14 inches, and produced on a stiff cardboard or poster board. Examples may be seen in this series of photographs of Charlottesville in the early twentieth century from the Rufus Holsinger Studio Collection:

A show card rests in front of the cash register in this detail from a 1917 photograph of the Timberlake Drugstore on mainstreet.

A show card rests in front of the cash register in this detail from a 1917 photograph of the Timberlake Drugstore on Main Street. (MSS 9862. Image by UVA Digitization Services)

Hand-lettered advertisements for local businesses surround the Charlottesville train timetable in the Gleason Hotel in 1915, detail from a larger photograph. photograph from

Hand-lettered advertisements for local businesses surround the Charlottesville train timetable in the Gleason Hotel in 1915, detail from a larger photograph. (MSS 9862. Image by UVA Digitization Services)

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A very simple 1914 show card for tomatoes. Sections of the photograph’s background have been whited out, perhaps in preparation for use of the image in an article or advertisement. (MSS 9862. Image by UVA Digitization Services)

Show card writers used water based paints or inks in conjunction with a “rigger” brush—a long-handled sable brush—or nibbed pen to create designs. Show cards could be made and remade swiftly, so they were ideal for displays where signs needed to be rotated frequently.

Two scarce instruction books produced by the Speedball pen company, still in operation today. The company name reflects its origins: Speedball began as a specialty company producing nibbed pens specifically for the quick work of show card lettering.

Two scarce instruction books for Speedball pens produced by the C. Howard Hunt Pen Company, which operates today as Speedball. Speedballs were nibbed pens produced specifically for the quick work of show card lettering. Left: Ross F. George,  Lettering, Poster Design for Pen and Brush (Camden: C. Howard Hunt Pen Co., n.d.); Right: Ross F. George, Modern Lettering/Poster Design (Camden: C. Howard Hunt pen Co. , n.d.). (Image by Elizabeth Ott)

Because show cards were meant to be produced quickly, show card writers did not want to spend time creating unique designs and layouts for every new card. Show card manuals offered design templates and best practices for producing attractive, readable show cards that could be easily copied. Manuals instructed writers on how to scale alphabets up and down, how to balance negative and positive space, and how to choose complementary color schemes. More than just a compendium of display alphabets, show card manuals condense the aesthetics of early twentieth-century graphic design into readable, concrete lessons.

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A page spread from E. C. Matthews, How to Paint Signs and Show Cards (New York: Illustrated Editions, 1940). (Image by Elizabeth Ott)

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A page from Charles Strong’s The Art of Show Card Writing, showing an airbrushing technique used to add depth and texture quickly to a flat design. (Detroit: The Detroit School of Lettering, 1907).

These show card manuals are an important, but often overlooked, aspect of the history of typography, graphic design, and American advertising. The script alphabets of show cards influenced type design, especially for display types, but also diverged from many trends in typography. Similarly, the non-pictorial nature of most show cards and their freedom from the constraints of printing meant they were both like and unlike printed advertisements produced during the same time. Ephemeral and rarely preserved, show cards are largely absent from the cultural record, except in photographs that attest to their prevalence. Show card manuals are thus an invaluable resource for understanding the practice of show card writing. Many of the manuals in the Nicholas Curtis gift are extremely rare, available in only a handful of libraries world-wide—indeed, we were unable to find existing holdings for more than two dozen. We are particularly pleased to add these books to our collections, adding their richness and texture to our extensive collections on the history of typography and type design.

The books are marvelous specimen collections in their own right. Incidentally, we believe the ancient author of the concept of humours, Galen, would put his stamp of approval on the layout of the recto of this page. From Pen and Brush Lettering and Practical Alphabets (London: Blandford Press, [1947].

The books are themselves often exuberant celebrations of the myriad ways to design the Roman alphabet.  Pen and Brush Lettering and Practical Alphabets (London: Blandford Press, [1947]).

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ABCs of Special Collections: Y is for…

We have traveled a long way from “A” to “X” and have landed at the letter:

"Y" is for Columna Versalien, which is included in Treasury of Alphabets and Lettering by Jan Tschichold, 1992. (Z250 .T883 1992. Image by Petrina Jackson)

“Y” is for Columna Versalien, which appears in Treasury of Alphabets and Lettering by Jan Tschichold, 1992. (Z250 .T883 1992. Image by Petrina Jackson)

Y is for Yaddo

Yaddo is a retreat for artists in Saratoga Springs, New York, founded in 1900 by Spencer Trask and his wife, Katrina Nichols Trask (1853-1922), an author in her own right. The first residents came to Yaddo to work in 1926, and current artists continue to visit today. Although we do not have the Yaddo archives, which is housed at the New York Public Library, Special Collections has correspondence related to the retreat and its founder.  These letters appear in the papers of U.Va. President Edwin Alderman and U.Va. English Professor James Southall Wilson among others.

Contributed by Sharon Defibaugh, Manuscripts and Archives Processor

About 1912, Katrina Trask, wrote several letters of sympathy and encouragement to Edwin A. Alderman, the first University of Virginia President, during his enforced stay at Saranac Lake, New York, for treatment of tuberculosis (MSS 1001, Box 5).

About 1912, Katrina Trask, wrote several letters of sympathy and encouragement to Edwin A. Alderman, the first University of Virginia President, during his stay at Saranac Lake, New York, for treatment of tuberculosis. (MSS 1001. Photograph by Donna Stapley)

The Clifton Waller Barrett Library contains two of her books, Under King Constantine, published anonymously in 1892 and Lessons in Love.

The Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature contains her books, Under King Constantine, published anonymously, and Lessons in Love. (PS586.Z94.T738 U59 1893 and PS646.F54.T73 L4 1900, respectively. Photograph by Donna Stapley)

Trask’s pacifism is represented by a broadside “The Conquering Army” (1915) distributed through the Clearing House for Limitation of Armament.

Trask’s pacifism is represented by her broadside “The Conquering Army,” distributed through the Clearing House for Limitation of Armament, 1915. (Broadside 414. Photograph by Donna Stapley.)

The arrangement of a literary conference by Professor James Southall Wilson with Elizabeth Ames, the director at Yaddo for many years, June 28, 1930, reveals another University of Virginia connection (MSS 12708-a, Box 1) to Yaddo.

The arrangement of a literary conference by Professor James Southall Wilson with Elizabeth Ames, the director at Yaddo for many years, reveals another University of Virginia connection to Yaddo, June 28, 1930. (MSS 12708-a. Photograph by Donna Stapley).

Y is for Richard Yates

Novelist and short story writer, Richard Yates, is widely considered one of the premier post WWII writers of American fiction. His 1960 novel, Revolutionary Road was lauded by critics and writers alike, but none of his work sold especially well during his lifetime. Yates found work as a writing instructor at many universities, including Columbia, the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and the New School for Social Research. A search of our online catalog shows four entries of Richard Yates.

Contributed by George Riser, Collections and Instruction Assistant

(PS3575 .83 R4 1961. Bradley H. Gunter Fund, 2011/2012. Image by Petrina Jackson)

Shown here is a first printing of Revolutionary Road. (PS3575 .83 R4 1961. Bradley H. Gunter Fund, 2011/2012. Image by Petrina Jackson)

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Dust jacket photo of Mr. Yates by Bob Isear. (PS3575 .83 R4 1961. Bradley H. Gunter Fund, 2011/2012. Image by Petrina Jackson)

Y is for Yearbook

From societies and clubs, to high schools and colleges, Special Collections has many yearbooks.  U.Va.’s student yearbook, Corks and Curls, came into the world in 1888 and sadly ceased to be after its 2008 issue.  Corks and Curls gives readers a glimpse into the antics, biases, rebellion, sacrifices, amusement, accomplishments, and achievements of U.Va.’s student body over 100 years of social and academic change.

Contributed by Donna Stapley, Assistant to the Director

Cover of Corks and Curls, 1920. (Photograph by Donna Stapley)

Cover of Corks and Curls, 1920. (LD 5687 .C7 1920. Photograph by Donna Stapley)

1888 Football Team (Champions '88  ):                     LD 5687 .C7 v.1 1888

1888 Football Team, “Champions ’88, ” from the 1888 Corks and Curls. (LD 5687 .C7 v.1 1888. Photograph by Donna Stapley)

U.Va. Basketball Team from the 1934 Corks and Curls ()

U.Va. Varsity Basketball Team from the 1934 Corks and Curls (LD 5687 .C7 1934. Photograph by Donna Stapley)

U.Va. Men's and Women's Track and Field, 2008.

U.Va. Men’s and Women’s Track and Field, 2008. (LD 5687 .C7 v. 120 2008. Photograph by Donna Stapley)

It is hard to believe, but there is only one more letter to go!  Please join us two weeks from today for our final letter and the conclusion of our alphabet series.

 

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Tales from Under Grounds: Literature and U.Va. Societies

This is the third in a series of four posts, spotlighting the mini-exhibitions of students from USEM 1570: Researching History. This is the abridged version of the students’ projects, featured at their outreach program, Tales from Under Grounds.

"Save the Date," Fall 2014. (Photograph by Caroline Newcomb)

“Save the Date,” Fall 2014. (Photograph by Caroline Newcomb)

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Abby Ceriani, First-Year Student

Photograph of Abby Ceriani by Sanjay Suchak, November 19, 2013.

Photograph of Abby Ceriani by Sanjay Suchak, November 19, 2013.

Gothic Literature

This exhibit shows a brief history of Gothic literature, which has had a great influence on both its readership and later literary works. Gothic novels were taken both seriously and ironically as shown by the popularity of the genre and its parodies.

Authors, such as Ann Radcliffe who wrote The Mysteries of Udolpho, were at the heart of the Gothic novel movement. However, not everyone took Radcliffe’s novels seriously. Jane Austen wrote Northanger Abbey, making fun of Gothic romance novels.

To appeal to a broad audience, Gothic fiction was produced in multiple volumes as well as in smaller, cheaper booklets called chap-books. These books, with their elements of romanticism, horror, and mystery have thrilled and entertained audiences over the centuries.

(Photograph by Sanjay Suchak)

Austen, Jane. Northanger Abbey: and Persuasion. London: John Murray, 1818. Jane Austen’s famous novel Northanger Abbey was a parody of Gothic romance novels, specifically, Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho. Austen’s novel is about a girl with an overactive imagination. She tries to imagine her ordinary situation as that of a Gothic romance, which causes her much trouble. Austen also makes use of the iconic Gothic scenery by having much of the book take place in an old Abbey. On page 69 of Northanger Abbey, Austen refers to The Mysteries of Udolpho and lists several other Gothic novels. (PZ2 .A8 N 1818 v.1. Sadlier-Black Collection of Gothic Fiction. Photograph by Sanjay Suchak)

(Image by Petrina Jackson)

The Bleeding Nun, a Mechanical Print from The Monk. London: S. Poole, 1817.  The writing on the bottom of “The Bleeding Nun” says “This mechanical print exhibits by its shadow, the terrific change of features of the bleeding nun, according to the description in the novel of The Monk.” The Monk, written by Matthew Gregory Lewis, is an iconic Gothic novel. The mechanical print shows the nun with normal features and can be changed to show the nun with a skull’s face. (Broadside 1817 .B54. Sadlier-Black Collection of Gothic Fiction. Image by Petrina Jackson)

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Becca Pryor, First-Year Student

Becca Pryor talks to a guest about her exhibition, November 19, 2013. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

Becca Pryor talks to a guest about her exhibition, November 19, 2013. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

Meeting Marjorie

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was born on August 8, 1896 in Washington DC. At 14, Rawlings’ short stories were published in the Washington Post. During her studies at the University of Wisconsin, she wrote for the Wisconsin Literary Magazine.  While living in Louisville, KY and Rochester, NY, Rawlings wrote for local journals as well.  After feeling restless living in cities, Rawlings and her husband moved to the rural coast of Florida.  It was here where Rawlings’ writing career really took off.  She drew inspiration from the people, nature, and interactions between the two to shape her novels, such as The Yearling, and short stories.

Rawlings exposed a side of American culture that had not been shared.  She lived in the scrub with a family in order to experience their lifestyle and learn how to appreciate their high spirits amidst low circumstances.  By fully immersing herself in the culture of Florida, she was able to write from a genuine and sincere perspective.

(Image by Petrina Jackson)

Photographs of Rawlings’ Cross Creek, Florida Home. These photos were developed on October 23, 1968, which is 15 years after Rawling’s death.  Rawlings and her husband bought a seventy-two-acre farm in Cross Creek because of the great beauty she associated with the area.  Cross Creek inspired Rawlings to write many short stories, which were published in Scribner’s Magazine.  After some time at Cross Creek, Rawlings moved in with a family who resided in the scrubs of the inland of Florida, so that she could experience firsthand life in rural Florida.  Here, the honesty of the people in the scrub amidst their challenging circumstances impressed Rawlings. (MSS 6785-d. Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature. Image by Petrina Jackson)

(Image by Petrina Jackson)

Catalog of Books In the Taylor Library of American Best Sellers. Lillian Gary Taylor records the title page of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ The Yearling as well as other information about the book, including its price and physical description.  The Yearling was published in 1938 and won Rawlings a Pulitzer Prize in 1939.  The novel was also the best selling book of 1938 and sold over 250,000 copies in that year alone.  The popularity of this book was so great that it has been translated in over 20 different languages and also made into a motion picture in 1946.  The novel describes the relationship between a young boy, named Jody, and his pet fawn, Flag. Like Rawlings’ other books, The Yearling is set in the inland of Florida where nature plays a key role in shaping the story. (MSS 5231-b. Taylor Collection of American Best-Sellers. Image by Petrina Jackson)

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Adam Hawes, First-Year Student

Adam Hawes introduces himself at Tales From Under Grounds, November 19, 2013. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

Adam Hawes introduces himself at Tales From Under Grounds, November 19, 2013. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

The Raven Society

Edgar Allan Poe is perhaps the most well-known Gothic author of the 19th-century. His mysterious tales are some of the most recognized works in literature.  Poe is probably also the most famous college dropout in the history of the University of Virginia. He only attended the university for one year before gambling debts forced him out.  Despite only attending U.Va. for one year, Poe’s influence can still be felt here in the form of the Raven Society.

Named for Poe’s best-known poem, The Raven Society has been at U.Va. since 1904 when it was established as a merit-based, social, literary society. The society continues to hold academic integrity at a high value and presents awards to students and faculty for their academic interests and pursuits.  The Raven Society also presents scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students at each school of the university.  In addition to awarding academic achievement, the society has worked since 1907 to restore and upkeep Poe’s room on the West Range. Overall, the society keeps Poe’s spirit alive at the University of Virginia.

(Image by Petrina Jackson)

The Raven Society of the University of Virginia: A Brief Historical Note by Authur Kyle Davis, 1987. This broadside serves as an overview of the Raven Society. Printed over 80 years after the founding of the society, it lists the history of the society as well as the many aspects of the organization. It also explains membership requirements as well as the the purpose of the society. This document is from the papers of Francis L. Berkeley, Jr. (Broadside 1987 .D38. Image by Petrina Jackson)

(Image by Digitization Services)

This photograph shows the Raven Society at their annual Raven Awards Ceremony, 1952.  At this ceremony, the Society presents the annual Raven Award to students, faculty, administrators, and alumni, recognizing them for their scholarly pursuits.  The members can be seen here dressed formally. (RG-30/1/10.001. University of Virginia Visual History Collection. Image by Digitization Services)

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Carrie Zettler, Second-Year Student

Carrie Zettler discusses her exhibit with (fill in). (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

Carrie Zettler discusses her exhibit with library staff member Barbara Hatcher. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

The Hot Feet In Hot Water

The Hot Foot Society was formed in the spring of 1902 by a group of U.Va. students living on the East Range. The stated purpose of the organization was to host large parties that were open to all who wished to partake in the revelry. Unstated was the acknowledgement that members of the Hot Foot Society liked to drink. Never intending to be members of a secret society, Hot Feet often publicly displayed their drunkenness to the dismay of the University’s faculty.

In 1911, the Hot Foot Society pulled a bold prank. After a particularly rambunctious celebration, a few Hot Feet broke into the natural history exhibit in Cabell Hall and extracted stuffed animal specimens. President Alderman did not see the humor in the prank. He expelled four Hot Foot Society members and effectively disbanded the organization. In January 1913, the Incarnate Memories Prevail (I.M.P.) Society was formed. With the motto of “Nos Mortous, Sed Dormiens” (not dead, but sleeping), the legacy of the Hot Foot Society was preserved in this new organization.

(Image by Petrina Jackson)

“Recollections of the Hot Feet.” Papers of the Hot Foot Society, 1903-1973, n.d. Written by Hot Foot Society member Herbert “Herb” Nash, “Recollections of the Hot Feet” is a poem that tells about the notorious prank pulled by the Hot Foot Society, circa May 1911. The incident happened after a celebration on the Lawn attended by members of Tilka, Eli Banana, and the Hot Foot Society. The poem recounts how a few Hot Feet broke into Cabell Hall and removed stuffed animal specimens from the natural history exhibit. They placed these animals, including a polar bear, a Bengal tiger, and an ostrich behind the desks of professors and on the steps of their Lawn residencies. The poem also alludes to the expulsion of four Hot Feet and the banishment of the organization. (RG-23/46/1.971. University of Virginia Archives. Image by Petrina Jackson)

(Image by Petrina Jackson)

Charter of the I.M.P. Society from Papers of the Hot Foot Society, 1903-1973, c.a. 1914. This document is the first charter of the I.M.P. Society, which was founded on January 12, 1913. Written by Mc-K-Ski I, the charter was officially enacted a year later. The papers contain information about how the new organization would function. Details are provided about the I.M.P. Society’s meetings, members, fees and assessments, initiation, insignia, and festivities.(RG-23/46/1.971. University of Virginia Archives. Image by Petrina Jackson)

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