Please join us for the following event being hosted in Rare Books and Special Collections:
Thursday, March 1 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar: MA Presentations — “Alessandro Blasetti’s Cinema and the Fantastic: A Closer Look at the Unmarried Woman” by Genevieve Lyons, and “Representations of Self: Dante’s Use of First Person in the Vita Nova” by Katie Sparrow. Co-sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame and the William and Katherine Devers Program in Dante Studies.
Thursday, March 8 at 3:00pm-5:00pm | A Celebration of the Life of David Dressing (Latin American Studies Librarian). An opportunity to share memories will begin at 3:30pm. Friends, colleagues, and students of David’s from across campus are welcome.
The main exhibit this spring is In a Civilized Nation: Newspapers, Magazines, and the Print Revolution in 19th-Century Peru. This exhibit is curated by Erika Hosselkus and draws on strengths of Rare Books and Special Collections’ José E. Durand Peruvian History collection. Together these items offer diverse perspectives on Peruvian political events and cultural and religious practices and preferences from the colonial era, through the country’s birth in 1825, and beyond the turn of the twentieth century.
The spotlight exhibits during March are A Beneventan Fragment, curated by David Gura, and Baseball and Tin Pan Alley: Sheet Music from the Joyce Sports Collection, curated by George Rugg.
Hesburgh Libraries have just acquired the first edition of an important work on astronomy by the early modern Jesuit polymath, Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680), entitled Itinerarium exstaticum quo mundi opificium (Rome, 1656). The work generally defends the theories of Tycho Brahe, who combined elements of both the Ptolemaic and Copernican views of our solar system. Although the Jesuits had officially adopted Brahe’s cosmology by this time, the work apparently ran afoul of sixty-five theses listed in their own Ordinatio pro studiis superioribus, issued in 1651.
These difficulties led to a second edition being published in 1660 (Iter extaticum coeleste). This revision accomplished by Kircher’s friend, Gaspar Schott, contained twenty-seven pages of apologetics. Our Medieval Institute Library holds a 2004 facsimile of the Iter, so that now—with both editions available here at Notre Dame—scholarly comparisons of both works are possible.
Among the holdings of Rare Books and Special Collections are thousands of manuscripts which span over two thousand years. These manuscripts encompass a myriad of origins, physical properties, languages, and genres. Since each manuscript is produced by hand, each is a unique item. In addition to being the rarest materials within the department’s holdings, manuscripts are consulted and used for a variety of purposes. Their research and pedagogical values lie not only in the content of the their texts, but also in the physical properties of their construction, later modification, and even ownership.
The oldest manuscripts in the collection are representative specimens of writing in the Ancient World. They include over one hundred clay tablets and a cylinder from the Ancient Near East and date as early as ca. 2300 BC. These objects offer a view into the civilizations of Sumeria, Babylon, and Egypt of the Ptolemaic and Roman periods as well as different writing systems and formats.
In addition, Special Collections holds over 300 medieval manuscripts which span from the mid ninth-century to the sixteenth. These manuscripts present a variety of scripts, book-making techniques, and texts. The majority are in Latin, but there several examples in Greek, Italian, Old French, Middle English, and Middle German from European countries as well as Byzantium. Genres heavily represented are largely liturgical, devotional, and scholastic in nature.
A small number of manuscripts in Arabic and Persian, Ge’ez (the classical language of Ethiopia), Pali, Chinese, and Japanese spanning the seventeenth to nineteenth century are also held. These materials are largely for pedagogical purposes. They include a variety of formats and supports such as Ottoman paper, parchment, palm leaf, and other eastern paper stocks.
North American manuscript holdings are arranged into five chronological or topical classifications. Manuscripts of Colonial and Revolutionary America include manuscript groups originating before the year 1788 in the British colonies on the Atlantic seaboard of what is now the United States, or are American manuscripts of the Revolutionary and Confederation eras. Early National and Antebellum manuscripts are comprised of manuscript groups originating, wholly or primarily, in North America in the years 1788 to 1860. Civil War manuscripts include all manuscript groups originating, wholly or primarily, in North America in the years 1861 to 1865, and also include manuscript groups dated later but of immediate relevance to the Civil War. Modern American manuscripts include all manuscript groups originating, wholly or primarily, in North America since the end of the Civil War. The Sports Manuscripts include manuscript material of all periods relating to athletic sports, physical culture, health and exercise, and outdoor leisure and recreation. Besides handwritten and typewritten texts, listings include other non-published formats with some claim to uniqueness, most notably scrapbooks and photographs.
There are over 70 manuscript collections relating to Irish Studies. They range from single items such as an account book from an 1847 Famine soup kitchen to large collections of papers. The papers of contemporary Irish writers Patrick McCabe and Eilís Ní Dhuibhne will allow future scholars to study early drafts and trace the development of the literary works, while letters such as those written by the diplomat and Easter Rising leader Roger Casement to his friend Robert Lynd provide a vivid glimpse of the personality behind the historic figure.
Rare Books and Special Collections is home to significant Spanish-language manuscript collections, from both Iberia and Latin America, dating from the fifteenth century through today. The Harley L. McDevitt Inquisition collection documents activities of the Holy Office of the Inquisition (1478-1834) in early modern Spain, Portugal, Rome, Mexico, and Peru. It includes over one hundred manuscript items. Trial and sentencing documentation, annotated procedural manuals, and ornate manuscript broadsides appointing Inquisition familiars are highlights. The José E. Durand Peruvian History collection includes more than 40 colonial and nineteenth-century literary, historical, financial, and ecclesiastical manuscript items. Among these are some totally unique items such as the only existing copy of a seventeenth-century Peruvian play entitled, Tragicomedia de la Ystoria de Joseph.
RBSC also holds modern literary collections representing South American and Caribbean writers. Manuscript highlights include the letters of Gabriela Mistral, Silvina Ocampo, Norah Borges, and Manuel Puig, as well as a few items by Jorge Luis Borges. The department’s South American historical mauscripts represent major figures of the independence era as well as some of the region’s earliest female activists, including Elvira Rawson de Dellepiane and Isabel Giménez de Bustamante.
The immigrant experience and family correspondence are another strength of the department’s Hispanic holdings. Collections include materials produced by Irish, Italian, German, and North American immigrants to Latin America.
Russian and East European Studies collections range in date from the early nineteenth century to the present. Papers and manuscripts focusing on human rights and the unofficial non-conformist culture of Soviet Russia (also known as Russia’s second culture) constitute a particular strength within the Russian and East European Studies holdings. The materials include letters from the Gulag, literary and political works of Samizdat, manuscripts, official documents, diaries, correspondence, and photographs. A number of personal collections by important Russian political and cultural figures are represented among the Special Collections’ holdings. These include the papers of the Human Rights activist and the first executor of the Solzhenitsyn Fund Alexander Ginzburg (1936-2002), the writer Eugenia Ginzburg (1904-1977) and the poets Inna Lisnianskaia (1928-2014) and Semion Lipkin (1911-2003), the concept artist and writer Vagrich Bakhchanyan (1938-2009), the Human Rights activist and literary scholar Elizabeth Markshtein (1929-2013).
Bound in modern calf decorated with blind stamped ornaments is a collection of letters written by the sixteenth-century Italian writer, Paolo Giovio. Known as a historian, Giovio became one of the foremost and innovative letter writers of his time. He drew upon his historical knowledge of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries to recount in vivid detail contemporary events including the sack of Rome, the election of Pope Hadrian VI, and the Marquis of Pescara’s troops plundering his native home, Como. He made his biting political commentary about these events all too clear in the letters contained in this volume. Giovio practically turned the art of letter writing into a new genre; his letters in many ways were a precursor to journalism.
This collection of letters, titled Lettere volgari di mons, is the first edition published by Lodovico Domenichi. It bears the publisher’s dedication to Matteo Montenegro, a Genoese nobleman, dated April 1, 1560. There are annotations in two hands throughout and also a printed bookplate bearing the name of William Wickham.
Paolo Giovio (1483-1552), a native of Como, began studying Greek language and literature in Milan but moved to Pavia within a year to pursue medical science and philosophy, earning his degree from the University of Padua in 1511. Fleeing an outbreak of plague, Giovio settled in Rome around 1516, where he wrote the work for which he is best known, Historiarum sui temporis (History of His Time). Among his other notable works are De Romanis piscibvs (On Roman Fish) and Descriptio Britanniae, Scotiae, Hyberniae, et Orchadum (Description of Britain, Scotland, Ireland, and the Orkneys).
Please join us for the following event being hosted in Rare Books and Special Collections:
Thursday, March 1 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar: MA Presentations — “Alessandro Blasetti’s Cinema and the Fantastic: A Closer Look at the Unmarried Woman” by Genevieve Lyons, and “Representations of Self: Dante’s Use of First Person in the Vita Nova” by Katie Sparrow. Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.
The spring exhibit, In a Civilized Nation: Newspapers, Magazines, and the Print Revolution in 19th-Century Peru, officially opens on February 9. The exhibit is curated by Erika Hosselkus and draws on strengths of Rare Books and Special Collections’ José E. Durand Peruvian History collection. Together these items offer diverse perspectives on Peruvian political events and cultural and religious practices and preferences from the colonial era, through the country’s birth in 1825, and beyond the turn of the twentieth century.
The spotlight exhibits during February are Reading the Emancipation Proclamation, curated by Rachel Bohlmann, and Baseball and Tin Pan Alley: Sheet Music from the Joyce Sports Collection, curated by George Rugg.
January 29 is National Puzzle Day, a day to appreciate puzzles of all sizes, shapes, and forms. This holiday was started in 2002 by Jodi Jill, a syndicated newspaper puzzle maker and professional quiz maker. In honor of the holiday, the curator of our next exhibit, “In a Civilized Nation: Newspapers, Magazines, and the Print Revolution in 19th-Century Peru,” shares a couple of puzzles from two of the serials that will be featured in the exhibit. The exhibit will open in early February.
The periodicals of nineteenth-century Peru often featured puzzles, from riddles (charadas) to rebuses (geroglíficos).
The March 13, 1875 issue of La Alborada, a weekly magazine on literature, art, education, theater, and fashion, featuring the writing of Peruvian women, contains a word puzzle in the middle of the third column. Readers decoded riddles such as this one to discover a one-word or multi-word solution. In this case, the puzzle creator provides clues about the three syllables comprising the word camisa (shirt), her one-word solution.
A loose translation:
Although foreign, it is known
That when I join my first syllable to my third,
It results in a familiar mansion.
Creating a similar union
Between my third and my first syllables;
I obtain a verb and a “sack,”
“larger than” any other.
My second (syllable) is a pronoun
And it runs into my third,
Each week, every person
Should go (to this) at least once.
I will say, in conclusion
That something that you find on me
And that you find also on yourself
Will turn out to be the solution.
The author of this puzzle offered up a prize to be given to one of the first four subscribers to submit a solution.
Solutions to the puzzle (Soluciones á la charada del núm. 22) appear in a later issue, shown below. Some answers, like the one sent in by Ubalda Plasencia, are written in verse, like the puzzle itself. As Ubalda points out, the syllables indicated by the puzzle are “ca” “mi” and “sa,” resulting in the word camisa, or “shirt.”
Word searches (laberintos) are also featured in Peruvian periodicals, as are rebuses, like the one found at the bottom of the page below from El Perú Ilustrado of June 16, 1888. The prize for decoding this puzzle was 200 packs of cigarettes. Fittingly, the sponsor of the puzzle was a tobacco vendor. In English, the solution to the puzzle (shown at the bottom of the last image) is: “If you know what is good, in terms of tobacco, I advise you to buy the brand «El Sol de Oro» from Oliva brothers.”
The January-February spotlight, Reading the Emancipation Proclamation, highlights a print acquired by Rare Books and Special Collections in 2017.
Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. This 1864 steel engraving by James W. Watts was adapted from a drawing, Reading the Proclamation of Emancipation in the Slaves’ Cabin, by New York City artist Henry Walker Herrick. Very few pictorial depictions of the proclamation were made before Lincoln’s assassination in 1865 and this is the only contemporary image that offers an interpretation of how it might have been received by the people it was intended to free.
The winter spotlight, Baseball and Tin Pan Alley: Sheet Music from the Joyce Sports Collection, continues through February.
In 2015 RBSC acquired a collection of more than 450 examples of baseball-related sheet music, dating from before the Civil War to the late 20th century. On display in this spotlight exhibit is a small sampling of the collection, with items ranging from the early days of baseball to the end of the Tin Pan Alley era. The examples on display in this spotlight exhibit are selected from Special Collections’ Baseball Sheet Music Collection.
This exhibit is curated by George Rugg, Curator, Special Collections.
The fall exhibit, Elements of Humanity: Primo Levi and the Evolution of Italian Postwar Culture, was extended into January and closes on Tuesday the 23rd.
The spring exhibit, In a Civilized Nation: Newspapers, Magazines, and the Print Revolution in 19th-Century Peru, will open in early February — watch for more information on the blog!
Ronald Wells, emeritus professor at Calvin College, Michigan, is author of a number of books and articles on peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. In the course of over two decades of research, he gathered together a collection of material on the work of groups, particularly religious groups, working towards peace and reconciliation. Many of the materials are ephemeral—newsletters and communications on the activities of those groups—and the collection is a valuable source for understanding the work of those groups, the environment in which they worked, and the obstacles they faced.
In 2017, Dr. Wells donated his research materials to the Hesburgh Libraries. The collection is arranged mainly according to organization and accompanied by Dr. Wells’ notes on each group, and it extends to five boxes of papers, mainly print ephemera, and a number of pamphlets and books.
The materials on the Clonard-Fitzroy Fellowship, one of the groups represented, provide insight into the relationship between a Catholic monastery and a Presbyterian congregation, which came about because of the friendship between the Rev. Dr. Ken Newell of Fitzroy Presbyterian Church and Fr. Gerry Reynolds of Clonard Monastery. Included are sermon texts, press releases, programs, newsletters, letters, and newspaper clippings.
The Wells Collection includes also materials from The Gospel in Conflict Program of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, The Hard Gospel Project of the Church of Ireland, the Columbanus Community of Reconciliation, Healing Through Remembering, the Evangelical Contribution on Northern Ireland (ECONI), and The Consultative Group on the Past.
The print materials of these groups provide a documentary glimpse into their work and the issues they faced. The well-produced publications of the Healing Through Remembering project trace the ideas and work of this organization from the initial event that led to its founding, the 1999 visit to Northern Ireland of Dr. Alex Boraine, Deputy Chairman of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Committee.
Included in the collection are pamphlets and reports. Many are on peace and reconciliation, and some are publications of a more propagandistic nature, such as Ian Paisley’s address, ‘The Ulster Problem’, delivered at Bob Jones University in South Carolina in 1972.
Books in the collection include books on Northern Ireland and also on peacebuilding in general, as in the example shown here.
In this book’s preface Dr. Scott Appleby describes the project directed by John Darby, professor at Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies until his death in 2012, to study peace accords and their implementation. The project mentioned in the book, the Peace Accords Matrix database, is now available online at https://peaceaccords.nd.edu.
The fall exhibit, Elements of Humanity: Primo Levi and the Evolution of Italian Postwar Culture, has been extended into January. If you are planning to bring a group to Special Collections or would like to schedule a special tour, please email rarebook @ nd.edu or call 574-631-0290.
The monthly spotlight exhibit for November and December, Building A Colonial Mexican Tavern: Archive of the Pulquería El Tepozán, has also been extended through mid-January. Watch for a new exhibit to be installed later in January and continue through February.
The winter spotlight exhibit is Baseball and Tin Pan Alley: Sheet Music from the Joyce Sports Collection, curated by George Rugg. This exhibit features highlights from the department’s collection of approximately 400 pieces of baseball related sheet music.