Natasha Lyandres and Julie Tanaka attended the 56th Annual Rare Books and Manuscript Section (RBMS) Conference on June 21-24, 2015 in Oakland and Berkeley, CA. This year’s conference, “Preserve the Humanities! Special Collections as Liberal Arts Laboratory,” was devoted to the roles special collections libraries have undertaken to shape teaching and research in the liberal arts. Natasha and Julie spent three-and-a-half days attending workshops, paper panels, and seminars as well as networking with rare book vendors, conservators, faculty, archivists, curators, librarians, and other rare book and special collections professionals. Here are some of the topics they learned about:
digital infrastructure and curating digital exhibits for special collections libraries
engaged collection development
special collections as the liberal arts laboratory
digital humanities and special collections: tools, challenges, and opportunities
creating new partnerships with faculty, campus offices, and outside organizations
leveraging technology to create virtual research environments
RBMS is a section of the Association for College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).
The Architecture Library, with the support of Italian Studies, Art, Art History & Design, and Humanities funding, is pleased to announce our newest addition to the collection, Giovanni Battista Falda’s Nuovo Teatro della Fabriche from 1665. This volume consists of the first three books in the series, bound together, which are a collection of engravings detailing the contemporary architecture of Rome. The volume, in its present form, is incredibly rare with only twelve copies housed in American collections.
The illustrations contained in the volume are of the Renaissance and Baroque architecture of Rome, and include general views, facades, interiors, and details of churches, monasteries, palazzi, public buildings, monuments, piazzas, as well as other sites of interest in the city. This volume, important in itself because of its study of Rome, also complements the current holdings of the Ryan Rare Book Room, which houses Falda’s Palazzi di Roma, a counterpart to Il Nuovo Teatro delle Fabriche, and together these books present a more complete picture of Renaissance and Baroque Rome.
This volume is also an important acquisition for the expansion of our SPQR-ND mobile application (available for iPad and iPhone) and other digitization projects we have underway in the Architecture Library. This work provides the reader with a snapshot of Rome in the seventeenth century and, in the words of Professor Carroll William Westfall, this book “sharpens one’s understanding of Rome as a place where change is constant and each era has important things to teach.” Cities are not static places and each new project leaves its mark. This work documents Rome in one of its most noteworthy periods.
A curious hieroglyphick Bible, or, Select passages in the Old and New Testaments, represented with emblematical figures, for the amusement of youth: designed chiefly to familiarize tender age, in a pleasing and diverting manner, with early ideas of the Holy Scriptures: to which are subjoined, a short account of the lives of the Evangelists, and other pieces: illustrated with nearly five hundred cuts. Worcester, Massachusetts: Isaiah Thomas, 1788.
Isaiah Thomas’s hieroglyphic Bible of 1788 is both a landmark piece of American children’s literature and a newly ambitious use of woodcut illustration in an American printed book. The idea of a hieroglyphic Bible, in which select scriptural passages were presented in a combination of words and images, was consistent with Thomas’s interest in works for children that simultaneously instructed and amused. He based his book on an English edition first published in 1783. In his preface—dedicated to the “parents, guardians, and governesses of the [newly constituted] United States of America”—Thomas notes the “considerable expense” involved in commissioning the hundreds of woodcuts that fill the book. Some of these, to the modern eye at least, seem a bit opaque; fortunately, Thomas printed the full text of each passage at the foot of the page. The present copy is a first edition, with all of its pages intact. It was acquired by the Libraries in January 2015.
While the etchings from this book are well-known, both as framed reproductions and from the 1978 Dolmen Press edition, original editions, with their large and detailed prints, are very uncommon.
James Malton accompanied his father, an English architectural draughtsman, to Ireland and was employed for a time by the famous architect James Gandon, who was then working on Dublin’s Custom House. He was dismissed and later worked on a series of drawings of Dublin buildings, first published in six parts between 1792 and 1799 and later, in 1799, published in one volume.
I would like to welcome readers to Hesburgh Libraries’ Rare Books and Special Collections Blog. The postings will include highlights from our rich and diverse collections, news about acquisitions, events, and exhibits, our services, and behind-the-scenes looks at the work of our curators and conservators.
Hesburgh Libraries at the University of Notre Dame holds diverse collections of rare and unique materials that range from a Babylonian cylinder from the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II to Jean-Pierre Hébert’s In Visible Cities—a twenty-first century artist book that meshes the poetry of Italo Calvino with data landscapes generated from computer code based on the artist’s interpretation of Calvino’s writings. Our holdings include manuscripts, archives, rare books, periodicals, photographs, artist books, ephemera, and other materials with particular strengths in Roman Catholic Studies, Medieval Studies, Irish literature, Italian literature, Latin American history and culture, 20th-century Russian history and culture, Botany, and American sports. Every year, we welcome undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, other researchers, and the general public to our department to use our collections and attend our exhibitions and programs.
For more information about our department and collections, I invite you to visit our website and subscribe to our RSS feed (http://blogs.nd.edu/rbsc/feed/).