Thanksgiving from the Margins

by Rachel Bohlmann, American History Librarian

This Thanksgiving we’re highlighting a book of poetry and prose that is part of a group of avant-garde American literary works called the Small Press/Mimeograph Revolution, 1940-1970s collection. Millbrook Thanksgiving, by poet and writer Walter Schneider (1934-2015), is a panegyric to the psychedelic-fueled community Timothy Leary created in upstate Millbrook, New York from 1963 to 1967. A psychologist interested in the effects of synthetic drugs on human consciousness, Leary settled in Millbrook after being fired from Harvard University for using the substances he was studying (LSD was legal in the US at that time). In the wake of local police harassment that led to Leary’s repeated arrests for minor drug infractions, he moved to California where he crossed paths with Schneider, a PhD student at Berkeley.

Schneider’s spirited defense of Leary’s counter culturalism places the book’s content in the cultural vanguard of 1971. But so does the book’s production. Printed as a small run of just 3,000 copies, its design—from the soft cover, typography, and heavy paper, to its eclectic illustrations—signals the book’s origins outside of mainstream American publishing. Mad River Press, the small California-based operation that produced Millbrook Thanksgiving, specialized in experimental poetry and creations like Schneider’s. The press released very small runs of poetry chapbooks, which were short (40 pages or less), inexpensively constructed, soft-cover booklets. Some were published anonymously and with no identifying publication information, indicating that publisher and author rejected the authority of copyright law.

Mad River Press and its authors also placed important visual pieces in their publications. Millbrook Thanksgiving used the first photograph in Robert Frank’s The Americans (published 1958), an extended photo essay that captured Americans in real life. Beat writer Jack Kerouac, who introduced the 1959 edition, noted that “he [Frank] sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film.” His book of photographs remains an important visual text of post-war America. In a chapbook of poetry by Fred Glazer also published in 1971, Mad River Press included an image by the African American painter Louis Delsarte.

The library’s Small Press/Mimeograph Revolution, 1940-1970s collection holds more than 350 items. Some, like Millbrook Thanksgiving, were produced by small, experimental presses, while others were created by individuals or small collectives using relatively inexpensive copying technologies like the Ditto machine (remember the smell of those purple ink pages?) or the mimeograph. The collection is searchable in the library’s catalog.


RBSC will be closed during Notre Dame’s Thanksgiving Break (November 22-25, 2018). We wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving 2015 RBSC post: Thanksgiving and football
Thanksgiving 2016 RBSC post: Thanksgiving Humor by Mark Twain
Thanksgiving 2017 RBSC post: Playing Indian, Playing White

Upcoming Events: November and early December

Please join us for the following events being hosted in Rare Books and Special Collections:

Tuesday, November 6 at 3:00pm | Workshop: Alternate Careers in Rare Books, Special Collections, Archives, and Museums.

Wednesday, November 7 at 3:30pm | Black Catholic History Month: “The Black Catholic Movement: The First 50 Years, 1968–2018” by Fr. Clarence Williams, CPPS, Ph.D. Co-sponsored by the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, Hesburgh Libraries, and the University Archives.

Thursday, November 8 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar: “Fascist Im/Mobilities: A Decade of Amedeo Nazzari” by Alberto Zambenedetti (Toronto). Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

Friday, November 9 at 3:00pm | Operation Frankenstein: “Melodramatic Frankenstein: Radical Content in a Reactionary Form” by Jeff Cox (University of Colorado Boulder). Co-sponsored by the Department of English and the Indiana Humanities Council.

Tuesday, November 13 at 3:00pm | Workshop: Archival Skills. CANCELED

Thursday, November 15 at 4:30pm |  Iberian & Latin American Studies: “Language and Power: Searching for the Origins of Catalan Linguistic Identity” by Vicente Lledó-Guillem (Hofstra University). Co-sponsored by the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, the Medieval Institute, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, and the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures.

Thursday, November 29 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar: “Dante’s Florentine Intellectual Formation: From Quodlibets to the Vita nuova” by Lorenzo Dell’Oso (Ph.D. Candidate, Notre Dame). Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.


The exhibit In Solzhenitsyn’s Circle: the Writer and his Associates runs through the end of the semester.

The current spotlight exhibits are Frankenstein 200 (August – December 2018) and Delamarche’s États-Unis de l’Amérique septentrionale: The United States in 1785 (November – December 2018).


RBSC will be closed during Notre Dame’s
Thanksgiving Break (November 22-25, 2018)
.

A story for Halloween: “Johnson and Emily; or, The Faithful Ghost”

“It is always Christmas Eve, in a ghost story…”

Told after Supper by Jerome K. Jerome is an anthology of short, humorous ghost stories. The copy in Special Collections, shown here, is the first edition, published 1891 by Leadenhall Press in London and illustrated “With 96 or 97 Illustrations” by Kenneth M. Skeaping.

The four primary stories, interspersed with shorter “Interludes,” are told by guests at a Christmas Eve dinner party hosted at the home of the narrator’s uncle. In 19th century England, it was typically not Halloween but Christmas Eve that was considered the time to tell spooky stories.

Jerome’s book follows in the tradition of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (first published in 1843) and other stories written or published by Dickens in the magazines he edited, Household Words and All the Year Round. Jerome’s stories are less frightening or moralizing, as the earlier Christmas ghosts tended to be, and more amusing.

And so, for this year’s Halloween post, we share for your amusement the first story from this volume, “Johnson and Emily; or, the Faithful Ghost”.

Happy Halloween to you and yours from all of us in Notre Dame’s Special Collections!

Halloween 2016 RBSC post: Ghosts in the Stacks
Halloween 2017 RBSC post: A spooky story for Halloween: The Goblin Spider

Upcoming Events: October and early November

Please join us for the following events being hosted in Rare Books and Special Collections:

Friday, October 12 at 3:00pm | Frankenstein and Medical Ethics: A Panel with Faculty from Notre Dame and Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend (IUSM-SB).

• Mark Fox, MD PhD MPH (IUSM-SB), Modern Day Re-animation: Revisiting the Moral History of Transplantation

• Joseph Kotva, PhD (IUSM-SB), Frankenstein and an Ethics of Virtue

• Gary Fromm, MD (IUSM-SB), Frankenstein, Film, and Medical Education

• Kathleen Eggleson, PhD (IUSM-SB), Teaching Frankenstein Today:  The Moral Imperative to Reform the Education of Medical Scientists

• Chair, Eileen Hunt Botting, Professor of Political Science (Notre Dame)

This event is part of Operation Frankenstein, a semester-long series of interdisciplinary events taking place at the University of Notre Dame to celebrate the bicentennial of Mary Shelley’s novel.

Tuesday, October 23 at 4:00pm | Public Lecture: “La primera entrada al Río de la Plata: Maldonado y su historia” / “The First Entry to the Rio de la Plata: Maldonado and Its History” by Silvia Guerra (Uruguayan poet and scholar).

Wednesday, October 24 at 4:00pm |Un mar en madrugada / A Sea at Dawn: Bilingual Reading by Silvia Guerra and Jesse Lee Kercheval.

Thursday, October 25 at 5:00pm | Italian Lecture: “Primo Levi e Dante: quattro casi (più o meno noti)” / “Primo Levi & Dante: Four Cases (More or Less Known)” by Fabrizio Franceschini (Pisa). Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

Wednesday, November 7 at 3:30pm | Black Catholic History Month public lecture by Fr. Clarence Williams, CPPS, Ph.D. Co-sponsored by the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism and Hesburgh Libraries/University Archives

Thursday, November 8 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar: “Fascist Im/Mobilities: A Decade of Amedeo Nazzari” by Alberto Zambenedetti (Toronto). Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.


The exhibit In Solzhenitsyn’s Circle: the Writer and his Associates runs through the end of the semester. The exhibit will be open special hours during the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture’s 19th Annual Fall Conference “Higher Powers” (November 1–3, 2018).

The current spotlight exhibits are Frankenstein 200 (August – December 2018) and A Modern Prometheus: Balancing Science and Ethics (September – October 2018).


RBSC is open regular hours during Notre Dame’s
Fall Break (October 15-19, 2018)
.

Upcoming Events: September and early October

Please join us for the following events being hosted in Rare Books and Special Collections:

Friday, September 7 at 1:00pm | Operation Frankenstein: “Illustrated Frankenstein: The 200th Anniversary Edition” by David Plunkert (artist and illustrator). Operation Frankenstein is a semester-long series of interdisciplinary events taking place at the University of Notre Dame to celebrate the bicentennial of Mary Shelley’s novel.

Thursday, September 20 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar: “The Face of Recent Italian Criminal Television: Gomorrah and Beyond” by Dana Renga (Ohio State). Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.


The exhibit In Solzhenitsyn’s Circle: the Writer and his Associates runs through the end of the semester.

The current spotlight exhibits are Frankenstein 200 (August – December 2018) and A Modern Prometheus: Balancing Science and Ethics (September – October 2018).


RBSC is closed Monday, September 3rd, for Labor Day.

Upcoming Events: August and early September

Please join us for the following events being hosted in Rare Books and Special Collections:

Wednesday, August 22 at 3:00pm | “The Conservation of Dante’s 1477 La Commedia.” A public talk by Jeff Peachey (Independent Book Conservator, New York City). The conservation treatment of the Hesburgh Libraries’ important copy of Dante’s La Commedia (Venice: Vindelinus de Spira, 1477) will be detailed in this profusely illustrated lecture. Bibliophiles, conservators, librarians, Italian scholars, and anyone curious about the physical structure of books will find this lecture of interest.

Thursday, August 23 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar: “The Scene of the Crime: Tombolo On- and Off-Screen” by Charles Leavitt (Notre Dame). Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

Friday, September 7 at 1:00pm | Operation Frankenstein: “Illustrated Frankenstein: The 200th Anniversary Edition” by David Plunkert (artist and illustrator for The New Yorker). Operation Frankenstein is a semester-long series of interdisciplinary events taking place at the University of Notre Dame to celebrate the bicentennial of Mary Shelley’s novel.

 

The exhibit In Solzhenitsyn’s Circle: the Writer and his Associates will open on August 20 and run through the end of the semester.

The current spotlight exhibits are Frankenstein 200 (August – December 2018) and The Forbes Simulachres: The “Dance of Death” Reimagined (July – August 2018).

RBSC will be closed Monday, September 3rd, for Labor Day.

Memorial Day 2018

To honor all who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Originally, Memorial Day was celebrated as Decoration Day.

“Decoration Day,” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was published posthumously—first in June 1882 in The Atlantic and later that same year in In the Harbor, a book containing previously unpublished poems. The poem “pays tribute to what was then a new form of civic observance: a day set aside to commemorate those who had perished in the Civil War by placing flags and flowers on soldiers’ graves, a custom that gradually gave rise to our modern Memorial Day honoring all who give their lives in military service.” (David Barber, The Atlantic, May 30, 2011)

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-82) was but five years old when he witnessed the War of 1812 devastate his hometown. This event had a long-lasting impact on him.

Wordsworth would go on to Bowdoin College, graduating along with Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1825 before traveling through Europe, where he gained mastery over seven languages. On his return to the US, he taught languages first at Bowdoin and later at Harvard, and also spent much time writing textbooks and essays on languages, particularly French, Italian, and Spanish. While at Harvard, Longfellow’s literary career took off. He travelled to Europe twice more before resigning from Harvard in 1854 to devote his full attention to writing.

Less than a decade later—in 1861—not only did his beloved wife, Fanny, die but the Civil War broke out and his son, fighting for the Union, was wounded. The invalid had to be escorted home by his father and brother. To cope with these tragedies, Longfellow immersed himself in his literary endeavors including a full translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy (completed in 1864). Against memories of the War of 1812, the Civil War, and the traumatic loss of a wife and the injury of a son, Longfellow continued to write. In some of his last pieces, including “Decoration Day,” one cannot help but notice Longfellow’s solemnity and poignancy.

Memorial Day 2017 blog post

Memorial Day 2016 blog post


During June and July the blog will shift to a summer posting schedule, with posts every other Monday rather than every week. We will resume weekly publication on August 13th.

 

An Easter Issue from Our Collections

Notre Dame Special Collections, MS GILL B-138

The Game: An Occasional Magazine was first issued in 1914 by Eric Gill, Edward Johnston, and Hilary Pepler. This publication became the main forum for members of the Guild of St. Joseph and St. Dominic.

The Easter 1917 issue featured here is from the Eric Gill Collection. It contains Eric Gill’s woodblock prints, “The Resurrection” and “Paschal Lamb” accompanied by text from The Easter Sequence by Wipo (d. 1048).


Rare Books and Special Collections will be closed in observance of Good Friday on March 30. We will reopen at 9am on Monday, April 2, 2018.

Happy Easter to you and yours
from Rare Books and Special Collections
at the University of Notre Dame.