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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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

grad_student_borges_2A few days before the semester begins, our reading room generally gets pretty quiet, since summer visitors have headed home and our own faculty are busily preparing for the semester. So I was delighted to find this trio poring over materials together at the front table this afternoon, looking extremely excited and even a bit giddy. Some quick investigating revealed that they are (left to right) Tommy Antorino, Rebekah Coble, and Maggie Czerwien. They are brand new Ph.D. students in the Spanish Department. They met at their department orientation on Monday and learned about Special Collections at a Graduate Student Resources panel yesterday.  Finding themselves with a bit of free time on their hands this afternoon, they headed down Under Grounds, and after learning the ropes from our reading room staff, found themselves in front of a Jorge Luis Borges manuscript. Hence, the giddiness.

I didn’t want to interrupt them for too long, so I asked if I could take their picture, and if they would share with me an adjective about their experience:

“Overwhelming.”

“Incredible.”

“Ecstatic to learn of the resources here at U.Va.”

Tommy, Rebekah, and Maggie, welcome to U.Va.!! We are so excited to have you and all your fellow new graduate students here on grounds. Here’s to a fantastic new academic year.

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This Just In: A Tolkien Black Swan

This week, we feature a very unusual recent acquisition in a guest post by Special Collections curatorial assistant Elizabeth Ott, doctoral candidate in the U.Va. Department of English.

In the world of Special Collections it may be said that some books are born rare, some achieve rareness, and some have rareness thrust upon them. The last is the case for the unassuming blue pamphlet titled Songs for the Philologists, which recently made its way to the stacks of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. A strange admixture of chance and circumstance has conspired to make this pamphlet, co-authored by J.R.R. Tolkien and E.V. Gordon, the rarest publication of Tolkien’s career.

The front cover of Songs for the Philologists, which lists Tolkien first among the volume's authors.  PR6039.O32 S65 1936, Gift of Joan Kellogg, 2013.

The front cover of Songs for the Philologists, which lists Tolkien first among the volume’s authors. PR6039.O32 S65 1936, Gift of Joan Kellogg, 2013.

During his tenure at Leeds University, Tolkien formed, with Gordon, a society known as the “Viking Club” devoted to reading Old Norse sagas and drinking beer. Sometime in 1934, Tolkien and Gordon prepared a set of typescripts of verses, including original compositions of their own devising as well as traditional songs in Old and Modern English and other languages. The typescripts were distributed to students from the club for their amusement.

Among those who received copies was former student A.H. Smith, then of University College London, who used his copies of the typescripts as a printing exercise for his own students in 1936. An unknown (but undoubtedly small) number of pamphlets were hand-set and privately printed by students on a replica wooden common press (not unlike the replica press located on the 2nd floor of  U.Va.’s Alderman Library in the Stettinius Gallery). Smith realized, after the pamphlets had already been printed, that he had not obtained permission from Tolkien and Gordon, so the pamphlet was never distributed. Instead, copies were kept in storage at the pressrooms on Gower Street.

The building was bombed in WWII. The pressrooms burned, along with the presses and any stock stored on the premises. The only copies of the pamphlet that survived were those that had been taken by the students who printed it. It is not known how many copies survived, though H. Winifred Husbands, one of the students involved in the printing, has estimated the number at thirteen.

There are thirty compositions in the book, including thirteen by Tolkien himself. Several of the verses reappear in later publications, altered or repurposed. A notable example is the poem “The Root of the Boot.” The poem was originally titled “Pero & Podex” (Boot and Bottom), but is also sometimes referred to as the Troll Song. In early drafts of The Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo sings it in the Prancing Pony in chapter nine. Readers will remember that it finally appears as Sam’s song in chapter twelve of the published version of the same book, and as “The Stone Troll” in Adventures of Tom Bombadil. Other poems poke fun at the academic community: Tolkien’s “Lit’ and Lang’” originally contained direct references to Leeds University, and was altered to omit them during printing. Tolkien noted, in 1966, that the alterations had the unfortunate side effect of breaking the rhyme.

J.R.R. Tolkien's Root Boot as it appears in the volume. Image displayed with permission of the J.R.R. Tolkien Literary Estate.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Root of the Boot” as it appears in the volume. (PR6039.O32 S65 1936, Gift of Joan Kellogg, 2013.) Image displayed with permission of the J.R.R. Tolkien Literary Estate. ©The Tolkien Estate Limited 2014

J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lit and Lang" as it appears in the volume. Image displayed with permission of the J. R. R. Tolkien Literary Estate

J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lit’ and Lang’” as it appears in the volume. (PR6039.O32 S65 1936, Gift of Joan Kellogg, 2013.) Image displayed with permission of the J. R. R. Tolkien Literary Estate. ©The Tolkien Estate Limited 2014

So how did such a rare find come to the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections? In late 2013, Joan Kellogg, the widow of Professor of English and expert in Old Icelandic Robert Kellogg, generously invited curator Molly Schwartzburg to take from Professor Kellogg’s home library any volumes wanted for Special Collections. Almost two hundred rare and unusual items, from modern first editions to Icelandic travelogues and books of mythology, came to the library as a result of Mrs. Kellogg’s generosity. Many years ago, Professor Kellogg had donated to the library many remarkable books from the James Joyce collection of his father, Joyce scholar Charles E. Kellogg. Songs for the Philologists lacks a bookplate, so we do not know whether the book belonged to the father or the son; it has strong ties to both of their research interests. The library was pleased to be able to share our excitement about the Tolkien item with Mrs. Kellogg before she passed away on December 31, 2013.

The Kellogg copy of “Songs for the Philologists” is one of only four copies held by libraries in the United States and one of eight held by libraries worldwide. Fantasy fans and Old Norse addicts alike are encouraged to consult the pamphlet for inspiration in starting their own “Viking Club” here on grounds.

Detail of the back cover of the volume.

Detail of the back cover of the volume, showing a device used by the print shop of the University College, London. (PR6039.O32 S65 1936, Gift of Joan Kellogg, 2013.)

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Editorial Antics: A peek into the newly acquired manuscript magazine, The Gleaner

This week, we are pleased to feature a guest post by graduate curatorial assistant Elizabeth Ott, who has just finished preparing a small exhibition on a recently acquired magazine. The exhibition, The Gleaner: Documenting the Great War, opens Friday, August 8 and will remain on view through October.

While working on this serious exhibition,  Elizabeth became increasingly distracted by the hilarious antics of the editorial team leading the magazine. In this blog post, she provides an overview of the magazine’s unusual editorial structure before sharing with you some of the tastiest tidbits.

In my work at Special Collections, I often come across items that are very easy to interpret when you hold them in your hands but become rather more complicated to describe to another person. Such an item is the recently acquired sixteen-issue run of The Gleaner (1910-1918). On its title page it declares itself an “amateur manuscript magazine,” an accurate yet vague description of an object that combines the methodology of a commonplace book or a picture album with the reflective qualities of a diary, the exchange of an epistolary correspondence, and the aspirations of literary quarterly. Its pages–a mix of handwritten and typed contributions alongside original works of art in pen, watercolor, charcoal, and pastels–tell the story of a fascinating community of men and women from across the United Kingdom in the years leading up to and during the Great War.

The title page for this issue from May/June 1918 features colorful calligraphy, contributed in lieu of an artistic submission. Members who failed to contribute at all to an issue were fined. (Not yet cataloged. Library Associates Endowment Fund.)

The title page for this issue from May/June 1918 features colorful calligraphy, contributed in lieu of an artistic submission. Members who failed to contribute at all to an issue were fined. (Not yet cataloged. Library Associates Endowment Fund.)

Each issue of The Gleaner is physically unique: only one copy was produced. Members  submitted essays, stories, poems, drawings, etc. to editor Winifred T. Godfrey of Kew Gardens, Surrey. Godfrey collected and bound the entries inside an original cover (usually artwork submitted by a member), and added a table of contents, editorial preface, postal list, and section of criticism. Other features included a section where members voted for favorite submissions or left suggestions for future issues. Godfrey then mailed the completed magazine to the first member on the postal list. Each member was to keep the magazine for up to two days, then send it on to the next person on the list. When it had made its rounds, it was returned to Godfrey, with the critical remarks of each member to be added to the next issue.

Caption 1: Cover designs for The Gleaner were contributed by members. These four early issues date from 1910-13. (Not yet cataloged, Library Associates Endowment Fund.)

Cover designs for The Gleaner  were contributed by members. These four early issues date from 1910-13.

It is not entirely clear how the magazine began, or how its members came together. They lived and worked in disparate parts of the country and came from a variety of political and social backgrounds: some were old and some young, some women and some men, married and unmarried alike. Some members appear to have known each other outside its pages, while others were clearly strangers—one member, Maisie Swift, notes her shock upon learning that long-time member Mr. Morrison was quite young. “Please don’t take offense,” she writes, before admitting that in her head she calls him “Old Sam.” In early issues members rarely used their first names, but in later issues frequently did, and sometimes submitted pictures of themselves to be included in the magazine’s pages.

“I sketch for that” by J.M. Minty. Art contributions to The Gleaner are enclosed as originals, as in this ink and watercolor cartoon.

“I sketch for that” by J.M. Minty. Art contributions to The Gleaner are enclosed as originals, as in this ink and watercolor cartoon.

This humorous illustrated essay, poking fun at advertising rhetoric, is from the September/October 1918 issue, but unfortunately lacks an author attribution. The essay combines hand-written commentary, watercolor sketches, and clippings from newspapers.

This humorous illustrated essay, poking fun at advertising rhetoric, is from the September/October 1918 issue, but unfortunately lacks an author attribution. The essay combines hand-written commentary, watercolor sketches, and clippings from newspapers.

Contributors paid a nominal fee for membership (the price of postage) and could be fined for failing to submit contributions on time. But the most onerous tasks involved in producing this a labor-intensive product (at times, issues of The Gleaner appear to have been produced once every two months) fell largely on the shoulders of editor Winifred Godfrey. In her editorial prefaces, she frequently chides members for late submissions, poor-quality artwork, or unintentional postal mishaps. They, in turn, fill the suggestions page with complaints about tardy receipts of the magazine or not having enough time to read it each month.

The editor here critiques the magazine's submissions, stating,

The editor here critiques the magazine’s submissions, stating, “I am afraid this number is not particularly good, in either the literary or the artistic portion, but if you will not contribute properly you cannot expect the mag. to be very good.” (Not yet cataloged, Library Associates Endowment Fund).

Photograph of Winifred T. Godfrey with a short essay describing her experiences having her picture taken. Godfrey’s essay is at once vain and deprecating: “When I first saw the photograph I was quite pleased with it, but when you look into it, it isn’t quite as good as you expect.”

Photograph of Winifred T. Godfrey with a short essay describing her experiences having her picture taken. Godfrey’s essay is at once vain and deprecating: “When I first saw the photograph I was quite pleased with it, but when you look into it, it isn’t quite as good as you expect.”

It may have been for this reason that Godfrey invited one of the members, Leander Demetrius Potous, to join her as Sub-Editor. Potous’s original task seems to have been typing up the criticism and prefatory material. Potous, who styled himself a “Humoresque,” took things a step farther, using his new-found position as typist to insert sarcastic and caustic commentary into the magazine, particularly in the criticism section. Potous’s commentary was often scathing. He contradicted positive reviews by cheerful members and mocked those with literary aspirations. He inserted articles with titles like “How to Write a Poem for The Gleaner” that excoriated members–by name–for derivative entries.

Gleaner_subeditor2

This pen sketch, decorating a photograph of the infamous Sub-Editor, is signed Selwyn B. Potous—perhaps a relative of Leander.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Potous’s editorial influence was not well-appreciated, and members began to resign at an alarming rate, citing the toxic tone in the criticism section, spurred on by Potous, as their primary reason for departure. In the Nov/Dec 1917 issue, early in Potous’s tenure as Sub-Editor, Godfrey writes in her preface:

Yet another resignation: F.A. Griffin no longer finds the ‘Gleaner’ as interesting as it used to be. She thinks the influence of the Sub-Ed. completely spoils it, and that he stirs up strife among the members, and causes continual arguing and unpleasantness in the criticism. Poor S.E.! He seems to be blamed for a lot!

Godfrey’s sympathy for Potous waned, however, when his antics interfered with her editorial duties. In the Jan/Feb 1918 issue, Godfrey inserted a long note near the back of the book, noting with alarm that:

I don’t know what is the matter with you all this time! I have just returned today from spending a holiday at Eastbourne, and find this magazine awaiting me, while I see that six members have not had it at all yet. Why Mr. Johnston, after apparently keeping it five or six days instead of two, returned it to me instead of sending it on to Mr. Holt, I do not know. It has already had one lost journey by being sent on by Mr. Greenhorn to Mr. Potous instead of to Mr. Lewin, but this was really Mr. Phillips’ fault for putting Mr. Potous address on back when sending on.

The blame, she insists, lies with Mr. Potous:

I believe a lot of this trouble, however, may be caused by the Sub Editor’s having tampered with the Postal List, and sending it to one of the members out of her turn. And he has even had the audacity to cross my name off the end of the list, and put his own I notice! Please, no more altering or tampering with my Postal List, Mr. Sub Editor! It only makes the magazine look untidy, and is apt to muddle members who have not enough time to study things carefully or to read your detailed remarks.

Potous’s crime in altering her postal list is further compounded by the rather incendiary departure of another longtime member. Godfrey writes:

The following is an exact copy of a postcard I have just received from D.T. Wilcock—it will be remembered that the Sub Editor called him a “lunatic” in his last criticisms; I don’t know if he thought I was guilty of this and wished to be revenged, but here it is:–

 

‘Book sent away to Mr. Morrison from Wilcock Heptonstall today Sunday Sept 23rd 1917. To be fair with you it requires a lunatic to deal with you at present I saw that from your photo. You may be dealt with less mercifully some day. If the magazine was a thing that mattered much you would have known about it from your magazine. No wonder you are on the shelf. I am excused from responsibility of law court actions from the Gleaner in future.’

 

I have no idea what this all means—I am really rather inclined to think the Sub Ed. may be right for once, in his estimation of Mr. Wilcock. Anyway, I think you will all agree that I am justified in dismissing Wilcock from our midst henceforth; I cannot have postcards of this description being sent to our house; my father was very annoyed about it.”

Potous, for his part, appended his own defense, totalling four pages of type densely packed, biting back with characteristic zeal:

I do not remember calling our late member a ‘lunatic’ I am certain I did nothing of the sort. I may have asked him at what lunatic asylum he was residing, but this is quite another thing—he might have been there as a doctor or keeper or something of that sort. On the other hand, he might have been there as an inmate—one never knows.

Godfrey inserts another sheet, handwritten, at the close of this issue with a distressed call for members to send her a confidential postcard voting on whether or not Potous should be removed from his office, and, indeed, by the next issue Potous is conspicuously absent. Some departed members did return, but the criticism section remained contentious. One member groused that “in spite of our late Sub-editor’s retirement, scathing, unnecessary critiques still appear rife among the members.”

A detail from the page featuring a portrait of the Sub-Editor.

A detail from the page featuring a portrait of the Sub-Editor.

Though in-fighting often centered around the perceived literary or artistic merits of contributions, just as often members expressed divergent opinions about politics and current events, including the events of World War I, which was contemporary with the later years of the magazine’s run. Editorial antics aside, The Gleaner represents an important archive of a pivotal moment in Western history. Those interested in exploring this record of World War 1 are invited to view the exhibition The Gleaner: Documenting the Great War,  in the First Floor Gallery at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

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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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