Collecting History in Real Time

As early as November 21st, a spontaneous display of notes, supporting rape survivors and expressing grief and anger, began appearing at the entrance of Peabody Hall, home of the Office of the Dean of Students and Undergraduate Admissions. The display was the result of the controversial Rolling Stone article, “A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA” by Sabrina Rubin Erdely.

Display of Notes on the doors of Peabody Hall, 10 December 2014. (Photograph taken by Edward Gaynor.).

Display of notes on the doors of Peabody Hall, 10 December 2014. (Photograph by Edward Gaynor)

Staff at special collections and archives across the country, including the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, have become increasingly active in collecting material, ephemeral and otherwise, born out of crises that have rocked their communities. These records–be they notes, flowers, posters, photographs, poems, press releases, online articles, etc.–help to document and provide insight into the actions, reactions, and  emotions of the people, institutions, and their associated communities as they are impacted by each wave of the event. We know from experience that our own students and faculty are deeply interested in researching events from the university’s past, distant and recent alike, and we want to ensure that we can provide future generations with a rich record of our present.

During U.Va. finals week, the Dean of Admissions contacted Library Administration, who in turn contacted Special Collections staff, to start the process of removing the notes for permanent preservation. On Wednesday of finals week, Librarian for Virginiana and University Archives Edward Gaynor and Rare Books Cataloger Gayle Cooper removed the notes and other ephemera from the doors and brought them to Special Collections.

To get the materials researcher-ready, staff had to answer questions, like “How do you preserve it?” and “How do you capture something so ephemeral?” The first step was to temporarily house them by sticking them to archival folders.

Notes from Peabody Hall door, temporarily housed on archival folders, 10 December 2014. (Photograph by Edward Gaynor)

Notes from the Peabody Hall door, temporarily housed on archival folders, 10 December 2014. (Photograph by Edward Gaynor)

The second step was to consult Library Conservator Eliza Gilligan for guidance in permanently housing and treating the items. She suggested transferring the notes to pieces of archival mat board cut to the size of our standard document box, and then shelving them in the University Archives. She recommended methyl cellulose as the adhesive and determined that placing each piece of mat board in a labelled folder would best support later scanning, display, and researcher use. What about the flowers? They will be freeze-dried in the Preservation Department’s freezer.

Now that the preservation and housing methods have been decided upon, our manuscripts and archival processing staff will begin arranging and describing the notes so that they will be fully processed and accessible to the public spring semester 2015.

***

Do you have fliers, posters, signs, or other materials related to the current events surrounding sexual violence at U.Va.? If so, please consider donating them to Special Collections. Just drop them by the reference desk, or contact Edward Gaynor at efg2f@virginia.edu.

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On View Now: “At the Front: World War I Series Books for Girls”

We are so pleased to announce our newest mini-exhibition, curated by Susan Swicegood, Wolfe Docent in the Harrison Institute. Susan is a fourth year student in the Master of Teaching program at the Curry School of Education. Her joint undergraduate major is in English. So, it was no surprise when, upon beginning to learn about the collections here with curator and supervisor Molly Schwartzburg, she gravitated towards a project involving the marvelous Arthur P. and Christopher P. Young Collection of World War I Juvenile Series Books. We’ll give you a sneak peek at the show below, with selections from the exhibition’s text.

“At the Front: World War I Series Books for Girls”

Detail of cover art from Martha Trent, “Alice Blythe Somewhere in England: A War Time Story,” illustrated by Charles L. Wrenn (New York: Barse & Hopkins Publishers, 1918)(PZ9 .Y67 no. 474)

After the Great War began in 1914, and even more so after the United States became involved in 1917, many children experienced the war through characters in series books. While some girl protagonists “do their bit” on the home front through food drives and benefit concerts, many leave for the front themselves.

From ***

Detail of cover art from Aline Harvard, “Captain Lucy in France” (Philadelphia: The Penn Publishing Company, 1919). (PZ9 .Y67 no. 246)

These teenage characters—ranging in age from twelve to seventeen—dutifully serve as nurses in the Red Cross, drive ambulances, rescue lost soldiers, and uncover German spies.

Detail of frontispiece from Martha Trent, “Alice Blythe Somewhere in England: A War Time Story,” illustrated by Charles L. Wrenn (New York: Barse & Hopkins Publishers, 1918)(PZ9 .Y67 no 474)

The popularity of these books with American youth is undeniable, and with such far-fetched and fantastical adventures, girls could imagine the part they could play in gaining victory. In an almost propagandistic way, these books sold the war to young women as a chance to leave their homes and fight alongside the boys. Yet though the characters show an amazing degree of agency at the front, they return after the war’s end to the docile, domestic spaces they had left behind. Invariably, the heroine manages to find—or rescue—a fiancé along the way.

This exhibition will remain on view until the end of February, 2015.

A sneak preview of some of the items on display.

A sneak preview of some of the items on display.

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The Book in Tibet

U.Va. has long been a world leader in advancing our understanding of the Western book through bibliographical scholarship. Happily, U.Va.’s considerable bibliographical expertise is now being applied more broadly, as scholars take an increasing interest in adapting the techniques of descriptive and analytical bibliography to the Islamic and Asian book.

A page from an 18th-century manuscript copy of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The text is written in alternating gold and silver ink. The blue-black lacquered paper was created by applying a lacquer made of yak-skin glue, animal brains, and soot, which was then burnished to create an appropriate writing surface.   (MSS 14259)

A page from an 18th-century manuscript copy of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The text is written in alternating gold and silver ink. The blue-black lacquered paper was created by applying a lacquer made of yak-skin glue, animal brains, and soot, which was then burnished to create an appropriate writing surface. (MSS 14259)

That interest is particularly intense right now than in the field of Tibetan studies. On November 6-8, U.Va. hosted an international Symposium on the Tibetan Book, at which many of the world’s leading scholars explored the benefits of applying bibliographical methods to the study of Tibetan books and manuscripts. Organized by doctoral students in U.Va.’s Department of Religious Studies, with financial support from the Jefferson Trust and the Buckner W. Clay Endowment, the symposium also attracted speakers and participants from several other academic departments, Rare Book School, and the U.Va. Library.

Symposium papers ranged from an analysis of scripts in the 9th- and 10th-century manuscripts found at Dunhuang to the archiving of Tibetan websites. Despite the considerable hurdles scholars face in accessing Tibetan books and manuscripts, there was a palpable feeling of excitement among symposium attendees, as the time now seems right for making major advances in the field.

A page from a xylographic printing of The Wish-Fulfilling King of Power, a work by the Fifth Dalai Lama published at the government printing house in Lhasa in the late 7th century.

A page from a xylographic printing of The Wish-Fulfilling King of Power, a work by the Fifth Dalai Lama published at the government printing house in Lhasa in the late 17th century.

Of particular value was a workshop, led by Jim Canary, conservator at Indiana University’s Lilly Library, in which participants made Tibetan paper literally from scratch: boiling the raw ingredients (the inner bark of a woody plant ubiquitous in Tibet), pounding the fibers into mush, constructing a simple paper mold, forming the sheets, and then drying them; following which participants printed in the Tibetan manner: inking woodblocks, applying paper, and transferring the image by rubbing.

In conjunction with the Symposium on the Tibetan Book, the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library is pleased to host an exhibition, “The Book in Tibet,” featuring Tibetan books and manuscripts from the U.Va. Library’s extensive holdings. Curated by Ben Nourse, with assistance from Natasha Mikles and Christie Kilby, “The Book in Tibet” surveys four centuries of Tibetan book production through examples of Tibetan manuscripts, woodblock-printed books, and modern imprints. “The Book in Tibet” will remain on view in our first floor exhibition space through December 2014.

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This Just In: New in the McGregor Library

Every autumn the U.Va. Library hosts the annual Tracy W. and Katherine W. McGregor Distinguished Lecture in American History. This year the speaker was Edward L. Ayers, President of the University of Richmond and formerly professor of history at U.Va., who on October 28 delivered a brilliant talk on “The Shape of the American Civil War.” October is also the month during which we compile a listing of books and manuscripts added over the past year to the Tracy W. McGregor Library of American History. Here are a few highlights.

Increase Mather's notes for a Thanksgiving day sermon, December 2, 1718

Increase Mather’s notes for a Thanksgiving day sermon, December 2, 1718

Manuscripts by the Puritan minister Increase Mather are of great rarity, hence we were delighted to acquire these notes for a sermon, “Thanksgiving throughout ye province,” delivered in Boston on December 2, 1718. Written when Mather was 79, these notes confirm contemporary accounts of his working methods. After decades of experience, Mather no longer needed to write out sermons in full; rather, he preached from memory after sketching out sermons in notes such as these, which he carried to the pulpit as a memory aid. What makes this acquisition even more special is that it had once resided in the celebrated Mather collection formed by a descendant, William G. Mather. When Tracy McGregor purchased Mather’s collection in 1935, he permitted Mather to retain a few items, including this manuscript. Now that it was once again available, we promptly reunited it with the Mather Collection after, coincidentally, a 79-year absence.

Woodcut of a Sioux Indian "queen" from Der Reisen der Capitaine Lewis und clarke ... (Lebanon, Pa., 1811)   (A 1811 .T73)

Woodcut of a Sioux Indian “queen” from Der Reisen der Capitaine Lewis und Clarke … (Lebanon, Pa., 1811) (A 1811 .T73)

Perhaps the year’s most gratifying acquisition has been Die Reisen der Capitaine Lewis und Clarke, which had long been on our desiderata list.  Given that Meriwether Lewis and Thomas Jefferson both had deep Charlottesville roots, we have long been interested in the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Thanks to the McGregor Library, U.Va. has a superb collection of primary printed sources relating to the expedition. The only significant lacuna was this very rare work—a gap now filled. Lewis and Clark returned home in 1806, but publication of the official expedition report was delayed until 1814. Meanwhile the public’s intense interest in the expedition and what it found out west was whetted piecemeal by expedition participants’s published memoirs, newspaper articles, and the like. In 1809 an unauthorized account, culled from published sources, was issued in Philadelphia under the title, The Travels of Capts. Lewis & Clarke. Two years later this abridged German translation helped spread news of the expedition to the Mid-Atlantic’s substantial German-American population. Included are four full-page woodcut Indian portraits copied from the Philadelphia edition.

Public lands in Illinois: January 17, 1839 ... [Vandalia, Ill., 1839]   (A 1839 .I55)

Public lands in Illinois: January 17, 1839 … [Vandalia, Ill., 1839] (A 1839 .I55)

This unprepossessing (and very rare) three-page Illinois state document, Public lands in Illinois: January 17, 1839, might not seem of much interest. However, it takes pride of place as item #1 in the standard bibliography of Abraham Lincoln’s writings, being his first separate publication. Then a 29-year-old Illinois state legislator, Lincoln urges that Illinois borrow $5 million to purchase the 20 million acres of state land then held by the federal government. Income from land sales would fund the state’s ambitious program of public works while simultaneously paying off the loan. The resolution was approved, but Illinois’s senators and congressmen were unable to secure passage in Congress of the requisite federal law.

Augustus Q. Walton [i.e. Virgil Stewart], A history of the detection, conviction, life and designs of John A. Murel ... (New York, 1839)   (A 1839 .W26)

Augustus Q. Walton [i.e. Virgil Stewart], A history of the detection, conviction, life and designs of John A. Murel … (New York, 1839) (A 1839 .W26)

A livelier read is this very rare popular biography of one of early America’s most notorious bandits. Born in Virginia ca. 1806, John Murel (or Murrell) grew up in Tennessee, where he and his brothers pursued lives of crime. Murel’s gang was most active along the Natchez Trace—the trail winding southwest from Nashville down to Natchez on the Mississippi River. His criminal activities all but ended in 1835 when Murel began a ten-year jail term, but his legend was just beginning. The chief trial witness, one Virgil Stewart, promptly published under a pseudonym this sensationalist (and mostly fictional) biography, in which he identified Murel as head of a 455-member “mystic clan” masterminding a national slave insurrection planned for December 25, 1835. Stewart’s warning was widely believed in the South and provoked a series of deadly vigilante actions. Murel’s legend lives on in such venues as Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer, short stories by Jorge Luis Borges and Eudora Welty, and even a Hollywood western starring Humphrey Bogart.

William Wells Brown, A lecture delievred before the Female Anti-Slavery Society of Salem ... Nov. 14, 1847 ... (Boston, 1847)   (A 1847 .B74)

William Wells Brown, A lecture delivered before the Female Anti-Slavery Society of Salem … Nov. 14, 1847 … (Boston, 1847) (A 1847 .B74)

A lecture delivered before the Female Anti-Slavery Society of Salem at Lyceum Hall, Nov. 14, 1847 is the second published work by William Wells Brown, one of the most prominent African Americans of the 19th century (and the subject of a newly published biography). Born into slavery in 1814, Brown escaped to Ohio in 1834 and soon joined the abolitionist movement. In 1847, shortly before delivering this impassioned lecture, Brown published an autobiography, which for a time made him as prominent a figure in abolitionist circles as Frederick Douglass. Brown was in England when the Fugitive Slave Act was passed in 1850, and he remained abroad rather than return and risk capture. There, in 1853, he published what is considered the first novel written by an African American, Clotel. Brown eventually returned to Boston, where he was prominent in its African American community and published several more books.

Robert A. Slaney's account of a Richmond, Va. slave auction, from his Short journal of a visit to Canada and the states of America, in 1860 (London, 1861)   (A 1861 .S53)

Robert A. Slaney’s account of a Richmond, Va. slave auction, from his Short journal of a visit to Canada and the states of America, in 1860 (London, 1861) (A 1861 .S53)

A new addition to the McGregor Library’s comprehensive collection of American travel narratives is this fascinating and candid diary kept by Robert A. Slaney, a member of Parliament, while traveling in the entourage of the 18-year-old Prince of Wales during his 1860 American tour. From Boston the prince traveled to Niagara and then to Detroit, where Slaney found the residents to be “all pale, none fat. How is this? … Detroit is laid out with noble, wide streets … there are many nice villas, as of retired or rich persons, in and about this flourishing town.” In Chicago they witnessed a torchlight procession supporting Abraham Lincoln’s presidential bid. From St. Louis the party journeyed overland by train to Washington, DC, which they explored at length. President Buchanan’s White House reception for the prince was somewhat disappointing: “No refreshments but two large bowls of punch.” Perhaps of greatest interest is Slaney’s disapproving account of the slave auctions he witnessed in Richmond, Va., which reflects his liberal leanings. Indeed, this rare work was one of the first printed at the Victoria Press, established by English women’s rights advocate Emily Faithfull and entirely staffed by women.

The grant of the Venezuelian Emigration Company, with full explanation of their laudable object ... [St. Louis?, 1866]   (A 1866 .G73)

The grant of the Venezuelian Emigration Company, with full explanation of their laudable object … [St. Louis?, 1866] (A 1866 .G73)

The grant of the Venezuelian Emigration Company is the only recorded copy of a fascinating prospectus, distributed by a New Orleans real estate agency, promoting emigration to Venezuela. Immediately after the Civil War, Henry M. Price of Scottsville, Va. (just south of Charlottesville) secured from Venezuelan officials a grant of 2400 square miles. There he hoped “to provide a home for those in the South, that had the foresight enough to see, could not remain in their old homes, under the domination and rule of their heartless victors.” Unreconstructed Southerners who bought company shares would receive a substantial land grant and promises of greater freedoms than they expected under Reconstruction. The first 50 settlers claimed their land in 1867, and dozens more soon followed, but the expatriate colony shut down in 1869.

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Sugar High: A Curator’s Halloween Musings

In the throes of a pleasant candy-corn headache the other day, I wondered what we should post to the blog in celebration of tomorrow’s big holiday. What does the library hold related to candy, I wondered? So I opened Virgo, put on my headphones and hit play. On deck was the Flaming Lips’ cover of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Research always benefits from an apt soundtrack, and this over-the-top techno-celebration suited my purposes.

With a list of possible items in hand, I wandered the stacks, wishing I had a stash of Junior Mints in my pocket for this journey (but never fear, even Junior Mints cannot tempt me to break our no-food-in-the-stacks rule). Among the treasures I discovered, one in particular made my tastebuds buzz: a turn-of-the-century trade catalogue of the Savage Bros. Co., a Chicago manufacturer of candy-making machines since 1855 (They’re still in business today!). Enjoy the following selection of images (preferably while consuming something terribly bad for you) and have a happy Halloween!

halltaffypuller1

Ah, pulled taffy. Who hasn’t enjoyed the unique pleasure of stumbling across one of these machines in action in an olde candy shoppe in a seafront or mountain resort area?  Truly, only the Zamboni exceeds it in mesmeric power. Note the manufacturer name on the image here: perhaps Savage Bros. distributed this east-coast product to the Midwestern market.

hallfruitdrop

Fruit-drop candy machinery is well-represented in the catalog, and this example clearly reveals the production method. Sugary goodness goes in on the left as the two rolls turn, popping out shaped candies on the other side, which roll down the plank, cooling as they go. Yum.

hallalphabet

This alphabet fruit-drop roller mechanism is DIVINE! What bibliophile wouldn’t want to receive a gift of a bag of alphabet candies?

animules

Few things are as creepy as baby dolls that have the faces of adults. But I think maybe baby candy with this problem is creepier.

hallfrogs

The catalog makes me want to take up candy-making. These tiny creatures would make wonderful Halloween treats, especially if they were made in a creepy brownish-green. Deeeeee-licious!

hallyellowkid

There was even a fruit-drop mold for the Yellow Kid, a popular cartoon character of the period. Seventy-five of this odd little figure could be rolled out of a pound of sugary goodness.

hallhatchet

Hundreds of fruit-drop patterns were available to the Savage Co.’s customers, including odd ones like this Washington Hatchet. Somehow, I can’t quite imagine wanting to suck on a hatchet blade. But now that I think of it, there would be something very halloweeny about it, wouldn’t there? Puts a whole new twist on the whole razor-blade Halloween paranoia…

halltools

Speaking of blades, all sorts of candy-making hand tools are available in the catalog, alongside large and small industrial machines.

hallforms

These lovely “plaster paris starch moulds” resulted in highly detailed shaped bonbons. No candy corn shape, alas. Savage only offered molds for an entire ear of corn.

hallcabinet

Some products feature factory workers for scale. Here, a woman places pans of chocolate candies in a cooling cabinet; a block of ice is visible in the open door on the left. Maybe I’ll dress as her for Halloween next year.

Blogger’s note: all images  have been shamelessly cropped and altered for full sugar-high effect. No images are left unscathed. To view the book in its original condition, request TS199 .A5 H4 no. 24 in the Special Collections reading room. As always, please wash your hands of all candy residue before entering the reading room.

 

 

 

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Class Notes: Tolkien, Middle Earth, and Medieval Manuscripts in Special Collections

A few weeks back, we shared on this blog the story of our recent acquisition of a rare Tolkien book. A few days later, curator Molly Schwartzburg received an e-mail from English Department graduate student Caitlin Hamilton, who had just begun teaching her own semester-long undergraduate course, Exploring Middle-Earth: Tolkien and the Anglo-Saxon Tradition. Caitlin was hoping we could show the recently acquired volume to her class.

Well, we could do more than that, right? Molly and Caitlin decided to put together a broader presentation introducing students to items in Special Collections that would help them to understand the kind of cultural artifacts Tolkien studied as a scholar, and which he often imitates or alludes to in his Middle-Earth novels.From objects printed with text–such as cuneiform tablets and runestones–to medieval manuscripts and early maps, the session was jam-packed with items that would spark the intellectual imagination of any Tolkien scholar (and perhaps a few budding medievalists).

Setting up

Curator Molly Schwartzburg puts the finishing touches on the display before the students arrive. Don’t miss the tiny cuneiform tablets and facsimile runestone at the front right of the picture, just behind the massive choirbook. These were of great use in discussing the tenth-century Exeter Book Riddles and the inscribed ring in Tolkien’s trilogy.

Molly leading class

Curator Molly Schwartzburg starts off the class with the story of acquiring Songs for the Philologists. (Photograph by Petrina Jackson)

A student feels a piece of parchment. (Photograph by Petrina Jackson)

Much of the session was about medieval books, so we passed around sample pieces of parchment for students to handle. (Photograph by Petrina Jackson)

Curator Molly points out detail of ? for students to examine. (Photograph by Petrina Jackson)

Molly points out tiny illuminated dragons decorating a fragmentary manuscript. The students had just finished reading the greatest monster story of all, “Beowulf,” and Tolkien’s 1936 lecture, “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics.” In relation to this (and of course, to Tolkien’s own creature creation Smaug) Caitlin hoped to show them some medieval iconography of dragons or other magical creatures. Happy to oblige! (Photograph by Petrina Jackson)

Students take a close look at our medieval manuscripts, featuring the legend of St. Margaret. (Photograph by Petrina Jackson)

Students take a close look at two illuminated  medieval manuscripts featuring the legend of St. Margaret, who was swallowed by a dragon. (Photograph by Petrina Jackson)

One of the images students viewed was this page from the Verse life of St. Margaret from a Picardy Book of Hours, ca 1325. Image by UVA Library Digital Services.

One of the items students viewed was this page from the verse life of St. Margaret from a Picardy Book of Hours, ca 1325 (MSS 12455). Image by UVA Library Digital Services.

Caitlyn? shows her class a facsimile of ? (Photograph by Petrina Jackson)

Caitlin (center) uses a facsimile of an early map of the world to show students how changing norms of map orientations can be confusing. Turn this map sideways, and suddenly Britain is recognizable. Students viewed a number of map facsimiles and originals in the class visit in preparation for an upcoming assignment on Tolkien and cartography.   (Photograph by Petrina Jackson)

In conclusion: what more could we ask for from a gift such as the Tolkien book that inspired this visit? It is wonderful how one item in our collection can open new pedagogical opportunities. Now, if only someone would donate us some beautiful first editions of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

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Finding Humanity in the Past

This week, we are pleased to feature a guest post by Gayle Jessup White, who is a Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies Fellow for 2014. Ms. White researched the collections of Thomas Jefferson, the Edgehill Randolph family, and the Nicholas family while at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

It was jarring to read.  “Dear Sir:” began the 1814 letter from P. Randolph (possibly Peyton Randolph, son of U.S. Attorney General Edmund Randolph, acting Virginia governor from 1811–1812, and cousin of Thomas Jefferson) written to Wilson Cary Nicholas, 19th governor of Virginia and Jefferson in-law:

“I beg leave to enquire of you what disposition you intend to make of William? If you do not wish to keep him, I am anxious to have him sold, in order to meet the note … which will shortly become due…I would thank you to employ some one to sell him immediately… Be so good as to let me hear from you on that subject.”

The polite exchange between the two white southern patricians left me feeling sick as I read about William, the enslaved man whose life meant little more to them than settling a financial obligation. I bristled while contemplating that both white men, public servants of a fledgling democracy, founded on the proclamation that “all men are created equal,” held in the balance a black man’s future, a man who would probably die a slave, as would his children, and grandchildren. My twenty-first-century mind couldn’t wrap itself around his nineteenth-century condition. Yet, I held in my hand this letter, a letter that’s part of the University of Virginia Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library’s rich archive about Jeffersonian history.

I spent long happy days at the Small Special Collections, poring over letters, official documents, old photos, even examining locks of Thomas Jefferson’s hair, in search of my own family’s ties to Jefferson and his extended family. Oral history, fragmented documentation, and DNA testing indicate that my African American family is directly descended from Thomas Jefferson and his wife Martha. Research points to my great-grandmother Rachael Robinson having several children with Jefferson’s great-great-grandson Moncure Robinson Taylor shortly after the Civil War. It’s a relationship that seems to have begun when the couple was young and appears to have lasted decades. Perhaps they bonded during and after the harrowing years of the war. Whatever the case, I have come to believe theirs was a love relationship, one that brought me to U.Va. to learn more about them and the times in which they lived.

An Account of Slaves, n.d. (MSS 5533. Image by Petrina Jackson)

An Account of Slaves, n.d. (MSS 5533. Papers of the Randolph Family of Edgehill and Wilson Cary Nicholas. Gift of  Misses Margaret and Olivia Taylor and Mrs. Mary Mann Moyer. Image by Petrina Jackson)

What I found was a record of lives interrupted and altered by disease, early deaths, war, and chattel slavery. And while I felt resentment and bitterness toward the people who owned William and others who wrote dismissively of their enslaved people, I also found myself captivated by and at times sympathetic to the tragedy of their lives. For example, Jane Hollins Nicholas Randolph, wife of Thomas Jefferson’s grandson Thomas Jefferson Randolph and my great-great-great-grandmother, lost five of her 13 children.

Portrait of Jane Hollins Nicholas Randolph, n.d. (MSS 5533-c. Additional Papers of the Randolph Family of Edgehill on deposit from Steven M. Moyer. Image by Petrina Jackson)

Portrait of Jane Hollins Nicholas Randolph, n.d. (MSS 5533-c. Additional Papers of the Randolph Family of Edgehill on deposit from Steven M. Moyer. Image by Petrina Jackson)

The Civil War shattered her life–she and her family were, after all, on the wrong side of history. Still, I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for her as I read the words of this November 15, 1870 letter from her to her cousin Mary:

“You have probably heard from others, dearest Mary of Lewis, I fear almost desperate state of health, caused by taking cold last December which he never got rid of which has brought him to a most alarming state…

I feel that I am teetering on the brink of the grave, & that I haven’t strength to struggle on any longer that the agony of seeing another dear child die is more than I can bear – it is the greatest of all sorrows for a mother… to stand by the death bed of a child & my children are so good that it makes it so hard to see them die.”

Detail of copy of letter from Jane Hollins Nicholas Randolph to her cousin Mary, November 15, 1870. (MSS 9828. Image by Petrina Jackson)

Detail of copy of letter from Jane Hollins Nicholas Randolph to her cousin Mary, 15 November 1870. (MSS 9828-a. Additional Papers of the Randolph-Nicholas Family. Image by Petrina Jackson)

Jane Randolph died two months later, struck down by the news that her youngest child Lewis, the one whose life-threatening illness had her “teetering” at the grave, would soon succumb to “consumption.” How could I not feel for her–I, too, am a mother.

Yet this woman, my ancestor, owned slaves, some of whom may have been my ancestors as well. Jane’s former enslaved people were said to have wept at her gravesite. I too wept as I read her plaintive letter, one of many she had written and that are housed at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.  For me, Jane’s letters gave her a humanity that history had stolen. Poor William and other enslaved people will never have theirs restored.

Gayle Jessup White at Fellows Forum, Berkeley Room, Jefferson Library, September 6, 2014.

Gayle Jessup White at the Fellows Forum, Berkeley Room, Jefferson Library at Monticello, 26 August 2014.

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This Just In: Perspectives on Publishing

What, no book tour?  Francis W. Doughty and his agent Sinclair Tousey scheme to place copies of Doughty's science fiction novel, Mirrikh, or, a woman from Mars (1894) in the hands of eager readers.     (MSS 15790)

What, no book tour?  Francis W. Doughty and his agent Sinclair Tousey scheme to place copies of Doughty’s science fiction novel, Mirrikh, or, a woman from Mars (1892) in the hands of eager readers.    (MSS 15790)

Followers of “This Just In” will know of the Small Special Collections Library’s deep interest in primary sources relating to all aspects of publishing, whether from the perspective of author, publisher, bookseller, reader, or even censor. Here we present a diverse miscellany of relevant items spanning three centuries and two continents, all acquired in recent months.

In bad company: Pietro Aretino joins Philipp Melanchthon, Poggio Bracciolini, and Polydore Vergil on the Roman Catholic Church's Index of prohibited books. This 1569 pocket edition of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum was issued in Cologne.     (BX830 1545 .A2 1569)

In bad company: Pietro Aretino joins Philipp Melanchthon, Poggio Bracciolini, and Polydore Vergil on the Roman Catholic Church’s Index of prohibited books. This 1569 pocket edition of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum was issued in Cologne.    (BX830 1545 .A2 1569 no. 2)

One of several key achievements of the Council of Trent (1545-1563) was the creation of a central mechanism by which the Roman Catholic Church could restrict the publication and dissemination of works considered heretical, immoral, and anti-clerical. The first official listing of such works—the Index Librorum Prohibitorum—appeared in 1559, with a substantially revised edition following in 1564; the Index was regularly updated until 1966. Finding to our surprise that U.Va. had no pre-19th century edition of this landmark text, we obtained a rare 1569 Cologne reprint of the 1564 edition in handy pocket format, bound (as often) with a complementary edition of the Tridentine canons and decrees. The Index begins with the ten rules governing the selection of prohibited works, followed by a comprehensive alphabetical listing of banned titles, or more often simply the names of the many authors whose entire oeuvre was proscribed.

The truth is in the type: this imprintless 1588 edition of Petro Aretino's Quattro comedie was printed, not in Italy, but in London by the Elizabethan printer John Wolfe.     (PQ 4563 .A4 1588)

The truth is in the type: this imprintless 1588 edition of Petro Aretino’s Quattro comedie was printed, not in Italy, but in London by Elizabethan printer John Wolfe.    (PQ4563 .A4 1588)

Instead of preventing the publication of forbidden texts, the Index simply shifted the printing elsewhere while guaranteeing a steady readership among those fortunate enough to obtain copies clandestinely. One of many publishers to profit from the ban was the enterprising John Wolfe (1548?-1601) who, during the 1580s and 1590s, printed in London (of all places) a number of proscribed Italian works for export to the European continent. Wolfe’s surreptitious editions either lack his name and place of publication—as in his 1588 edition of Pietro Aretino’s Quattro comedie—or bear false imprints, but the typography reveals their true origins.

Rules to live by: a comprehensive set of regulations governing all members of the Paris book trades. Published in 1688 in a small format suitable for carrying around in one's pocket.     (Mini KJV 5973 .A35 1688)

Rules to live by: a comprehensive set of regulations governing all members of the Paris book trades. Published in 1688 in a small format suitable for carrying around in one’s pocket.    (Mini KJV5973 .A35 1688)

Rarely have printers been entirely free of regulation, and a key theme of “book history” is the ways in which printers have adapted to the various legal and economic constraints placed on their activities. We were fortunate to obtain fine copies with notable provenance—from the libraries of book historians Graham Pollard and Giles Barber—of the two earliest comprehensive sets of regulations governing the Parisian book trades.  The first, promulgated in 1686, contains sections pertaining to printers, booksellers, typefounders, apprentices, journeymen, correctors at press, colporteurs, privileges, and other matters, as well as a separate set of regulations governing the bookbinding trade. The second is the greatly expanded revision approved in 1723.

Heed the advice of M. Linguet: neither a lover of literature nor a writer be!     (PQ 1977 .D63 P5 1760 no. 2)

Heed the advice of M. Linguet: neither a lover of literature nor a writer be!    (PQ1977 .D63 P5 1760 no. 2)

Historians have traced to the 18th century the rise of authorship as a professional occupation, and it was not long before budding authors could find career advice in print. In 1768 Simon Nicolas Henri Linguet, a lawyer and denizen of the Parisian equivalent of Grub Street, published anonymously L’aveu sincere ou, lettre a un mere sur les dangers que court la jeunesse en se livrant à un gout trop vif pour la littérature. Written in the form of advice directed at a parent, Linguet spells out at length the bitter disappointments awaiting those who envisage a literary as a path to wealth and social advancement. Linguet was of course unable to follow his own advice, eventually dying, not of poverty, but on the guillotine for his opinionated writings.

What it cost in 1825 to publish 750 copies of a 96-page octavo book in Leipzig; from Johann Adam Bergk's Der Buchhändler oder Anweisung, wie man durch den Buchhandel zu Ansehen und Vermögen kommen kann (Leipzig, 1825).     (Z 313 .B474 1825)

What it cost in 1825 to publish 750 copies of a 96-page octavo book in Leipzig; from Johann Adam Bergk’s Der Buchhändler oder Anweisung, wie man durch den Buchhandel zu Ansehen und Vermögen kommen kann (Leipzig, 1825).    (Z313 .B474 1825)

If not writing, perhaps bookselling is the career for you? This spring we obtained two very rare early 19th-century German how-to manuals for booksellers (who at that time often dabbled in publishing, too). Der Buchhandel von mehreren Seiten betrachtet was written and self-published in 1803 by the Weimar bookseller Johann Christian Gädicke. Although quite revealing on the specifics of running a bookshop, it is invaluable for its detailed exposition of the contemporary publishing business: selecting titles, dealing with authors and how much to pay them, obtaining financing, choosing paper and designing the publication, marketing one’s imprints &c.   Johann Adam Bergk’s Der Buchhändler (Leipzig, 1825) offers similar advice, including breakdowns of the costs for printing a typical book.

An unusual London bookseller's retail binding, ca. 1806, on a copy of Robert Bloomfield's Wild flowers; or, pastoral and local poetry (London: Printed for Vernor, Hood, and Sharpe, and Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, 1806). The front board consists of a printed advertisement for bookseller James Asperne; the binding also bears Asperne's bookseller's label on the rear pastedown.     (PR 4149 .B6 W5 1806)

An unusual London bookseller’s retail binding, ca. 1806, on a copy of Robert Bloomfield’s Wild flowers; or, pastoral and local poetry (London: Printed for Vernor, Hood, and Sharpe, and Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, 1806). The front board consists of a printed advertisement for bookseller James Asperne; the binding also bears Asperne’s bookseller’s label on the rear pastedown.    (PR4149 .B6 W5 1806)

Other tricks of the bookselling and publishing trades are revealed through the books themselves. The early 19th century was a time of transition between retail bookbindings (added to some copies of an edition at the bookseller’s direction) and uniform publisher’s bindings (placed on most or all copies at the publisher’s direction). Recently we acquired a very unusual hybrid on a copy of Robert Bloomfield’s Wild flowers; or, pastoral and local poetry (London, 1806). The London bookseller James Asperne obtained some copies for stock, then had them bound in a retail binding of paper-covered boards. The front cover, however, consists of a large printed advertisement for his business. Nearly 40 years later, the New York publishers Harper & Brothers creatively addressed the perennial problem of how to move slow-selling titles out of the warehouse. Their solution was to bind unsold sheets, not in boards or cloth, but in inexpensive printed paper covers, and to market these titles for 25 cents each in a “Pocket Editions of Select Novels” series. Our newly acquired copy of James K. Paulding’s Westward ho! consists of the original first edition sheets, dated 1832 on the title page, reissued in paper covers dated 1845.

James K. Paulding's novel Westward Ho!, published in 1832, evidently was not the success Harper & Brothers anticipated. In 1845 unsold sheets (with title pages dated 1832) were reissued in less expensive form in the "Pocket Editions of Select Novels" series, dated 1845 on the paper covers.

James K. Paulding’s novel Westward Ho!, published in 1832, evidently was not the success Harper & Brothers anticipated. In 1845 unsold sheets (with title pages dated 1832) were reissued in less expensive form in the “Pocket Editions of Select Novels” series, dated 1845 on the paper covers.

Our Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature is world renowned for the extent and quality of its literary manuscripts and related correspondence. Two new additions help to illuminate different aspects of the late 19th-century publication process. In 1894 author Frank R. Stockton—perhaps best known for “The Lady, or the Tiger,” submitted the typescript of a science fiction story, “The Magic Egg,” to The Century Magazine. At editor Richard Watson Gilder’s urging, Stockton tightened up the original, ambiguous ending. The original typescript we acquired includes both endings as well as numerous other editorial revisions.

Frank Stockton's revised ending for his short story, "The Magic Egg" (1894).     (MSS 15768)

Frank Stockton’s revised ending for his short story, “The Magic Egg” (1894).    (MSS 15768)

Francis W. Doughty (1850-1917) was a prolific author of “dime novel” detective fiction as well as early science fiction tales. For the Barrett Library we have acquired a series of letters from 1892 detailing Doughty’s negotiations with the American News Company—a powerful distributor of popular, mass market fiction—concerning his science fiction/lost race novel, Mirrikh, or, a woman from Mars. Doughty’s agent, Sinclair Tousey, provided regular updates on the number of copies ordered, marketing plans, and efforts to obtain reviews in influential newspapers.

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Vintage Cameras, Modern Art, and U.Va.’s Secret Gardens: Eight Questions for Penny White

This week we introduce you to another of our wonderful new hires in Special Collections, Penny White, Reference Coordinator, who began her new position this summer. Penny is an Ohio native (Go Browns!) and received her B.A. in Art History from Wright State University in 2009. She came to librarianship after beginning a graduate program in Art Education and Museum Studies at the Ohio State University. Her interest in libraries and public service led her to change majors and transfer to Kent State University, where she received her M.L.I.S. in 2013. While at Kent State, she jumped at the chance to gain experience processing archival collections, working the reference desk, and curating an exhibit as a graduate student in the Special Collections and Archives department. She told us, “I am excited to continue sharing in the Special Collections experience with all of you here at U.Va.” We asked Penny to answer a few questions and she obliged with her customary warmth and humor.

Penny at the reference desk, where you will find her most of the time!

Penny at the reference desk, where you will find her most of the time!

What was your first ever job with books or libraries?

My first ever job with books was as a page in my local public library during high school. I worked in the children’s department, which was tremendous fun!

What was the first thing you collected as a child? What do you collect now? (oh, c’mon, admit it).

I remember having a stamp collection when I was younger, but I don’t believe I was an avid stamp collector. What does stand out from those early years is a memory of my sister Corey and I collecting tiny toys–though now it seems more like hoarding. We had at least two huge tins full of everything from trolls and My Little Pony, to Happy Meal toys and Matchbox race cars.

Now I collect vintage cameras. I did a series of prints using images of Kodak Brownie Junior and Hawkeye cameras, among others, for my screen-printing final project senior year of undergrad. After that, I was hooked. I love the way they look, like art pieces themselves. The evolution of design and technology over time is fascinating.

Hopefully you’ve been roaming Grounds and Charlottesville a bit since your arrival. What’s your favorite new discovery other than Special Collections?

I really love all of the outdoor seating and green space that Central Grounds has to offer. The gardens behind the Pavilions are an excellent place to eat lunch; they have a very serene atmosphere. When I first saw them, they reminded me of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden.

Name something about Special Collections or U.Va. that is different from what you expected.

I think it can be very nerve-wracking coming to a new place because you do not know what to expect. Your opinions have yet to be formed–how well will you do? what ill the people will be like?–but that is half the fun.

 

The depth of history here is much more prominent than where I came from. The lingo, too, was unexpected. I was hard pressed at first trying not to use “campus” and “freshman” when referencing the grounds and first-years. But while there have been differences, there have also been a great number of similarities. The University’s drive to share in the learning process is a familiar one as is the great emphasis Special Collections puts on public service.

If you could be locked in any library or museum for a weekend, with the freedom to roam, enjoy, and study to your heart’s content, which one would you choose?

The Tate Modern, hands down! London is probably my favorite city and the Tate Modern inspired my interest in exploring the relationship between museum and community. When the museum was being constructed, the project managers got the community involved with the planning and construction of the building as well as events and programs. All of this contributed to the ongoing Southwark Regeneration program.

 

Besides, the collections and installations would take weeks to see and fully appreciate!

When you came to interview, we showed you the miniature book collection. If you can remember, tell us what you thought to yourself when you found out we had 14,000 miniature books.

To be honest, my mind was still wrapping itself around the size of the stacks and the sheer size and variety of the overall collection. It wasn’t until I met a patron working with miniatures that I really found them to be amazing. She very excitedly displayed a tiny book, the size of a button. It was much smaller than I would have expected but full of intricate detail. After that, I found myself in awe of the craftsmanship involved in turning out beautiful works in such tiny frames.

 Tell us your go-to Thomas Jefferson quote (if you don’t have one, get one. You’ll need it!).

What really drew me to this position was the fact for Jefferson, learning was a lifelong and shared process. This thought is so befitting a library– what is a library without books?:

 

“Some of the most agreeable moments of my life have been spent in reading works of imagination.”

Our collections happen to be filled to the brim with history and imagination.

You’ve chosen to work in Public Services, so clearly you like to communicate! Pick one form of communication:

Tumblr
***Facebook
Twitter
Texting
Landline
U.S.P.S.
carrier pigeon
other: _____________

Explain your choice:

I have been fortunate to meet people from all over the world through my studies and Facebook allows me to keep in contact with them regularly: following travels, planning get-togethers, sharing photos, and catching up. Facebook has also been a wonderful platform for information sharing, networking with other professionals, and staying abreast of new developments in my areas of interest.

As you can imagine, we are thrilled to have such a culture vulture joining our staff!  Be sure to say hi to Penny next time you’re in the reading room. And stay posted–we’ll be back with a third new-staff welcome post in a few weeks.

Penny didn't know that we had a Brownie manual that is also a miniature book. She was pretty excited.

Penny didn’t know that we had a Brownie manual that is also a miniature book. She was pretty excited.

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James Madison, Troll Dolls, and Glam Rock: Eight Questions for Tiffany Cole

Special Collections is very excited to welcome three new staff members this year. In fact, we’re enjoying our new colleagues so much we wanted to be sure to share them with you. First up, we introduce Tiffany Cole, Reference Coordinator, who began her new position in July.

Tiffany at the reference desk, where you will find her much of the time.

Tiffany at the reference desk, where you will find her much of the time.

Tiffany is a native Virginian, born and raised in the Harrisonburg / Rockingham County area. She received her bachelor’s degree from Eastern Mennonite University and completed her graduate work in public history at James Madison University. At J.M.U. she wrote her thesis on the moonshining culture of Rockingham County using oral histories as the principal primary source material. Prior to coming to U.Va., Tiffany held positions at J.M.U.’s Special Collections as an archives assistant and James Madison’s Montpelier as Assistant Curator of Research. We asked Tiffany to answer a few questions about herself:

What was your first ever job with books or libraries?

As an undergraduate at Eastern Mennonite University, I did a semester work study stint in the university library assisting with ILL, reshelving, shelf reading, etc.

 

What was the first thing you collected as a child? What do you collect now? (oh, c’mon, admit it).

As a rule I try to live a clutter-free lifestyle. You will not find any tchotchkes, knick knacks, trinkets, baubles, or gewgaws in my house. That said, as a child I was really into troll dolls and amassed quite a sizable collection. Now, as an old married lady, I collect vintage Pyrex bakeware. I have become my mother.

Since Tiffany's arrival we've experienced a sharp uptick in troll sightings in the stacks. Fortunately, trolls produce no threat to collection materials, but we are monitoring the situation just in case.

Since Tiffany’s arrival we’ve experienced a sharp uptick in troll sightings in the stacks. Fortunately, trolls produce no threat to collection materials, but we are monitoring the situation just in case.

Hopefully you’ve been roaming Grounds and Charlottesville a bit since your arrival. What’s your favorite new discovery other than Special Collections?

The Corner. I’m pretty familiar with Charlottesville and the surrounding area, especially the vineyard and winery scene. While I never really spent much time on the Corner, I became fascinated by the immediate area after watching The Parking Lot Movie several years ago. I’m definitely looking forward to trying out all the restaurants and local joints. Suggestions are encouraged and appreciated!

 

Name something about Special Collections or U.Va. that is different from what you expected.

The variety of material in Special Collections continues to amaze me. I took for granted that U.Va. was strong in Virginiana and early American history, specifically manuscript collections. However, I never fully appreciated the breadth and depth of the materials in our collection relating to American literature. While the experience of reading William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying in AP English nearly gave me PTSD, I now feel compelled to go back and reread it. Faulkner deserves a second chance.

 

If you could be locked in any library or museum for a weekend, with the freedom to roam, enjoy, and study to your heart’s content, which one would you choose?

The library and archives at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. It’s the only place on Earth that appeals to both my appreciation of rare materials and manuscripts and love for glam rock and hair metal.

 

When you came to interview, we showed you the miniature book collection. If you can remember, tell us what you thought to yourself when you found out we had 14,000 miniature books.

“So where are the miniature book trucks and miniature book cradles?”

 

Tell us your go-to Thomas Jefferson quote (if you don’t have one, get one. You’ll need it!).

First place (I know it’s cliché): “I cannot live without books.”

Runner-up: “I find friendship to be like wine, raw when new, ripened with age, the true old man’s milk, & restorative cordial.”

 

You’ve chosen to work in Public Services, so clearly you like to communicate! Pick one form of communication:

Tumblr
Facebook
Twitter
Texting
Landline
U.S.P.S.
carrier pigeon
other: human contact

Explain your choice:

I prefer to communicate the old fashioned way – in person. I find it much easier to converse with people when I can read their mannerisms and social cues. Otherwise, I prefer texting to phone conversations and Twitter to Facebook. As a recovering Facebook addict, I’m proud to say I’ve been clean, with a deactivated account, since February 2014.

As you can imagine, we are all so happy to have someone with Tiffany’s sense of humor AND massive knowledge of Virginia on our staff. Welcome, Tiffany!

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