Earth Day 2020

by Rachel Bohlmann, American History Librarian and Curator of North Americana

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day—April 22, 2020—Rare Books and Special Collections offers an online exhibition, Describing, Conserving, and Celebrating the Earth: Primary Sources from Hesburgh Libraries. It displays sources about the earth in science, culture, public policy, and politics, from the 1750s to 2004. In keeping with the American origins of Earth Day in 1970 and the EPA, these sources are primarily from an American context.

Each section holds a primary source or group of sources that reflect different periods, kinds of materials (books, illustrations, posters, reports, etc.), and approaches to studying, appreciating, and preserving the earth. The library’s Rare Books and Special Collections resources are where some of these items come from; others are government documents that are available in the open stacks of Hesburgh Library (when the library’s print collection reopens).

We hope that this online resource will help faculty and students to Take 10 for the Planet this week.

      • A mid-eighteenth-century British naturalist’s illustrated description of wildlife and plant life in the American colonies.
      • The first issue of the Sierra Club Bulletin, a nature enthusiast’s magazine focused on the western United States.
      • A late nineteenth-century botanist’s findings, published in an early scientific journal.
      • A World War II poster by the United States Forest Service, urging people to preserve forests.
      • A mid-century warning about human damage to wildlife in the United States.
      • Examples of federal conservation before the advent of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): a conference report on pollution in the Lake Michigan watershed, and an international commission’s findings about pollution levels in boundary waters between Canada and the US.
      • A compilation of environment-inspired poems, published a few years after the first Earth Day.
      • An Earth Day-inspired speech by actor and environmentalist Eddie Albert.
      • Two EPA publications: an early catalog of agency-sponsored training programs for professionals responsible for pollution control, and a 2004 brochure about the conservation of the Chesapeake Bay.

Recent Acquisition: The Fabulous Cockettes Host a Private Benefit

by Rachel Bohlmann, American History Librarian and Curator

This small poster (11 ½” x 18”) advertises “The First Annual Miss de Meanor Beauty Contest” by the Cockettes, an avant-garde, hippie theater group that became known for experimental, free spirited performances of cross-dressing and musical theater. The ensemble formed in 1969 with men and women from the Kaliflower commune in San Francisco. They first gained attention by performing parodies of musical theater songs (in full costume and makeup) at the city’s Palace Theater before a regular Saturday night underground film showcase, the Nocturnal Dream Show. The Cockettes created shows titled, “Gone with the Showboat to Oklahoma,” and “Tinsel Tarts in a Hot Coma.”

The evening’s special feature, “Lady Divine,” refers to Divine, a drag queen and stage name of Harris Glenn Milstead. Divine had already achieved countercultural acclaim playing characters in John Waters’ films (Mondo Trasho, 1969; Pink Flamingos, 1972) before this San Francisco appearance. She joined the Cockettes at one of their Palace Theater shows (“Journey to the Center of Uranus”) and then as Miss de Meanor in this performance at the House of Good, another underground cultural venue in the city. Other characters in the show included Miss Shapen, Miss Used, and Miss Conception.

This poster is part of Rare Books and Special Collections’ Broadsides, Prints, and Posters collection.

Upcoming Events: January and early February

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

Thursday, January 30 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar: “The Artist and the Police: Decameron 8.3″ by Justin Steinberg (Chicago).

Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.


The spring exhibitPaws, Hooves, Fins & Feathers: Animals in Print, 1500-1800, curated by Erika Hosselkuss and Julie Tanaka, will open in January and run through the summer.

The current spotlight exhibit is: Irish Art and Literature from Graphic Studio Dublin (December 2019 – January 2020). The semester spotlight exhibit, featuring materials relating to the Ruskin Conference being held at Notre Dame in February, will be installed prior to the conference.


If you would like to bring a class or other group to Special Collections, schedule a tour of any of our exhibits, or schedule another event, please email rarebook @ nd.edu or call 574-631-0290.

A Halloween trip to Mexico

While Halloween has its origins in the Western Christian feast of All Hallows (or All Saints), it has since spread to various other cultures. So too, the Special Collections holdings that relate to celebrations on or around Halloween are to be found in a variety of subject areas. This year, we bring you materials from our Latin American collections.

José Guadalupe Posada and the skull iconography of Mexico’s Dia de Muertos

by Erika Hosselkus, Curator, Latin American Collections

As many Americans prepare to celebrate Halloween on October 31, Mexico and Latino residents of the U.S. ready themselves for Dia de muertos (Day of the Dead). Celebrated between October 31 and November 2, this holiday corresponds to the Catholic All Saints’ Day (known as Todos Santos in Mexico during the colonial era and nineteenth century) and All Souls’ Day, but is uniquely Mexican in its iconographic emphasis on calaveras, or “skulls.” Candy and papier-maché skulls adorn altars prepared with offerings to the deceased (ofrendas). Toy skulls and skeletons are sold in stores. And, party-goers decorate their faces with elaborate skull makeup.

Today’s Dia de muertos skull iconography is closely associated with the work of José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913), a Mexican lithographer, woodcut artist, engraver and etcher renowned for his satirical broadsides and flyers. During the latter half of his career, Posada worked with the printing house of Antonio Vanegas Arroyo to produce loose sheets commemorating political events, natural disasters, crimes, and festivals. Often, his original work featuring calaveras meditates on death, even if it doesn’t directly refer to Dia de muertos, as is the case with the two broadsides here, “¡Calavera Zumbona!” and “La Calavera Taurina.”

Special Collections Broadsides, BS-1900-03-F1
Special Collections Broadsides, BS-1900-03-F1

“¡Calavera Zumbona!” (“The Mocking Skull”) is a satirical piece that pokes fun at various artisan groups in Mexico City, including carpenters, tailors, candy sellers, painters, barbers, pulque sellers and more while also pointing to the universality of mortality and death. Carpenters are described as drunkards while tinsmiths are overly-loquacious. Practitioners of all crafts wind up, in the image created by Posada, as skulls in a cemetery in the end. The offerings of food and the small, round “pan de muertos” bread roll in the lower left-hand corner of the image are both traditional of Dia de muertos.

Special Collections Broadsides, BS-1900-02-F1

“La Calavera Taurina” is an homage to deceased bullfighters, who had been eaten or consumed by the “taurine skull” of death.

Both of these prints are on very thin paper. “¡Calavera Zumbona!” is an imperfect print with lines striking out parts of the text and main image. These elements attest to affordability of the materials used by the Vanegas shop and to the rapidity with which broadsides were printed.

Posada was rediscovered by Mexican Revolution-era muralists not long after his death in 1913. Among them, Jean Charlot was among the first to highlight Posada’s calaveras. In 1947, he worked with the still-operating Vanegas Arroyo printhouse to issue 450 copies of a bilingual portfolio entitled 100 Grabados en madera por Posada (100 Woodcuts by Posada). Here, Charlot reproduces the smaller and lesser-know woodcuts produced by Posada. Many feature calaveras accompanied by verse. One (#12) even commemorates Todos Santos (All Saints Day / All Saints’ Eve / All Hallow’s Eve) by name.

Charlot translates the verse as follows:

12. All Hallow’s Eve.
At last the day of all the dead
has arrived.
On which they rejoice, replete
with pleasures without
number.
In place of sad mourning for ourselves,
Let us, with laughs and pulque,
go cry in our cups.

Es una verdad sincera
Lo que nos dice esta frase :
Que sólo el ser que no nace
No puede ser calavera.
– No te fíes de las gentes
Son muy traidoras, deveras.
– Pues, a mí, las calaveras,
Nomás me pelan los dientes…
¡Ay, ay, ay! la muerte ya viene
Y a toditos nos agarra,
Hay que suerte tan chaparra,
Pues creo que ni madre tiene.

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
Halloween 2018 RBSC post: A story for Halloween: “Johnson and Emily; or, The Faithful Ghost”

Behind Juneteenth: Emancipation

by Julie Tanaka, Curator, Rare Books

This Wednesday, June 19, 2019, marks the 153 celebration of Juneteenth, the name African Americans in Texas gave to emancipation day.

On June 19, 1865, Major-General Gordon Granger, Union commander of the Department of Texas, arrived in Galveston, where he issued General Orders, No. 3:

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, “all slaves are tree.” This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.

The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes, and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts, and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

This order impacted approximately 250,000 slaves in Texas. Upon receipt of this news, newly freed slaves engaged in a variety of personal celebrations. In the following year, large public celebrations were held. These continue to today.

Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of slaves in Texas and more generally those enslaved in the Confederate states. This day brings people together and is marked with picnics, family gatherings, parades, barbecues, and other events featuring guest speakers. But it is not merely a day of rejoicing and fun. Juneteenth also emphasizes education and reflection about achievements. It is a time of formal thanksgiving, often opened by the singing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” written by James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938), the American writer and civil rights activist.

Despite the welcome news that General Gordon’s order brought to slaves in Galveston in 1865, the freedom proclaimed for these slaves arrived two-and-a-half years after President Abraham Lincoln had already granted them freedom He promulgated the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863:

That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free…

Though the Proclamation applied only to slaves in states that had seceded from the Union and that had not yet come under the control of the North, it marked a significant shift in the long process to end slavery in the US. This process culminated, at least on paper, two years later on December 6, 1865 when Congress ratified the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Three weeks after Lincoln’s promulgation, Harper’s Magazine published an unsigned article titled “Emancipation” on page 55 of the January 24, 1863 issue. In this article, the magazine announces that on the following two pages, it has published “another double-page drawing by Thomas Nast,” and offers its description of Nast’s work.

Lincoln’s action had attracted the attention of German immigrant and American editorial cartoonist, Thomas Nast (1840-1902). Nast allegorically rendered a freed African American family in the January 24, 1863 issue of Harper’s Weekly, which the magazine captioned “Emancipation of the Negroes, January, 1863—the Past and The Future. Drawn by Mr. Thomas Nast.” Nast attracts his viewer’s attention in the central roundel. Several generations of this family—all happy and stylishly dressed—a family not ripped apart by slavery.

In the surrounding images, Nast presents the past and the future. Scenes depicting the history of slavery—the public sale of slaves, families being torn apart, the brutality of slaves held in bondage—fill out the left half, while the rest of the image points toward the future and improved living conditions. The transition begins in the smaller roundel. Father Time holds Baby New Year, who unlocks the shackle of the slave kneeling before him. Columbia stands atop the central roundel. Below her to the left Lincoln’s portrait hangs on the wall next to the highly symbolic banjo (a symbol, rooted in African religious traditions, of slave life), and below Columbia to the right stands Justice before a scene of a Union victory. An American flag waves proudly above a public school with two children waving to their mom who wears a southern-style head scarf and holds an infant as they happily run off to school. Another sign of improved life in America are African Americans standing before a cashier’s window engaged in a business transaction.

Two years later, the large, Philadelphia print shop of King and Baird issued a commemorative print based on Nast’s image. The main difference between the 1863 image and the reissue is found in the small roundel. Lincoln’s portrait replaces Father Time, Baby New Year, and the kneeling slave. Whether Thomas Nast had approved this change or the issuing of the commemorative print is uncertain, but his message remains clear: the ills of America’s past can be corrected and as the US moves forward, new opportunities await for these emancipated Americans.

 

References:

Texas State Libraries and Archives Commission, “Juneteenth.”

Texas State Historical Association, “Juneteenth.”

Fiona Deans Halloran, Thomas Nast: The Father of Modern Political Cartoons (Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 2012).

Myths and Memorials

by Rachel Bohlmann, American History Librarian

Memorializing the Confederate States of America has been part of a national debate recently, as communities argue over public monuments that valorize a government and its soldiers who fought for slavery. This print, The Charge of the First Maryland Regiment at the Death of Ashby, was published in 1867, just two years after the end of the Civil War. It was an opening salvo in this debate.

Designed to be hung in the homes of Marylanders who identified with the Confederacy, it was commissioned to raise funds to erect a monument to the Maryland Line, a regiment of Marylanders who fought for the Confederacy. The monument was never built.

Although a slave state, Maryland remained in the Union during the war. After President Lincoln ensured that the legislature voted against secession in the spring of 1861, as many as 30,000 Maryland men fled to Virginia to enlist in the Confederate army. They made up about a third of all Marylanders (black and white) who fought in the Civil War. So many Marylanders joined the Army of Northern Virginia that they formed their own regiment, the Maryland Line. The print commemorated a victory of some of those Maryland Confederates near Harrisonburg, Virginia on June 6, 1862. Confederate troops, commanded by Stonewall Jackson, had engaged with Fremont’s Union forces north of Harrisonburg and were in retreat. Confederate Brigadier General Turner Ashby, in an effort to protect the rear of the retreating army, ambushed a detachment of Union soldiers with Maryland and Virginia troops. When the Union line was reinforced, Ashby was killed as he attempted to charge the Union position. The Marylanders then successfully repelled the Union attack and captured its commanding officer.[1]

The print’s image foregrounded Maryland soldiers poised to charge, including a dying Confederate soldier passing the regimental colors to another, a stock scene of nineteenth-century sacrifice and heroism. Ashby’s death is barely discernable in the background. The former Confederates who purchased this print would have already been familiar with Ashby, who had been widely hailed in the South as a hero both before and after his death. As one historian put it, “Ashby represents an early prototype of the Lost Cause hero.”[2] Even small and marginalized, Ashby’s image evoked a set of myths that many whites used to rewrite Southern history into a racialized story of plantation prosperity, contented slaves, and white manly honor.

Maryland raised many monuments honoring the Confederate cause in the century and a half following the war. Two years ago Baltimore removed four Confederate statues from public spaces because they valorized slavery and a government that defended it. The Maryland Historical Trust’s Governor’s Commission on Maryland Military Monuments updated its inventory to reflect these changes in public memory and memorialization. At the same time, however, the Daughters of the Confederacy and other groups rededicated a monument to Ashby outside of Harrisonburg. The debates over history and memorialization continue.

 

 

[1] Donald C. Pfanz, Richard S. Ewell: A Soldier’s Life (Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1998), 204-06.

[2] Peter S. Carmichael, “Turner Ashby’s Appeal,” Gary W. Gallagher, ed., Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2003), p. 117, accessed May 22, 2019, ProQuest Ebook Central.

Distinctive Xinxiang Series of Biblical Illustrations

by Hye-jin Juhn, East Asian Studies Librarian

In 2017, RBSC received thirty poster-sized prints (53 x 77 cm) from Grailville, a non-profit Catholic organization in Loveland, Ohio. Little was known about the prints. They were not dated. They contained a copyright statement by the Catholic University of Peking (1925-1952). They were apparently reproductions of Chinese-style paintings and calligraphic messages that illustrated the Bible. They appeared to have been intended for the Chinese audience.

Based on the following two sources, we now assume that these prints are copies of paintings done in Xinxiang, Henan in 1939 by Wang Suda.

Frontispiece portrait of the Right Reverend Monsignor Thomas M. Megan, S.V.D. from Atomic Apostle.

According to Atomic Apostle, Thomas M. Megan, S. V. D., Edward J. Wojniak’s biography of the Bishop Megan, who was the Prefect Apostolic of Xinxiang, Henan, Megan, in keeping with contemporary Vatican policy, used native art for Catholic teaching. He visited the Catholic University of Peking, chose Wang Suda among art students, and brought him back to his Xinxiang mission: “Megan himself chose the themes and directed their portrayal. Many a time, Wang Su-Ta was forced to throw away a half-completed picture because it did not measure up to Megan’s ideas and requirements.” (Wojniak, p. 139)

The Bishop gave the original paintings to the Catholic University of Peking. According to an article that appeared in the January 1941 issue of the Christian Family and Our Missions, the University reproduced the paintings in a “six-tone edition.”

“The series comprises thirty-five separate pictures illustrating the Old and New Testaments, the Sacraments and the Ten Commandments. The large size (55×61 cm, or, including the descriptive texts 60×80 cm) will make this series particularly useful for classroom and catechumenate use.” (p. 38)

The Xinxiang series at RBSC, though fewer and smaller in size, are possibly a reprint of the above-mentioned series.

The Xinxiang series is distinctive, and perhaps unique, in comparison to other paintings by Wang, and to paintings by his contemporary Chinese Christian artists.

In one painting, Jesus points at Peter and says, “You are the rock, Peter on which I will build my Church.” Peter, like the Bishop Megan, has a goatee and wears a “simple blue Chinese gown.” The church in the background resembles the “Chinese-style” church that the Bishop had built.

Upcoming Events: February and early March

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

Thursday, February 21 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar: Presentations by M.A. Students in Italian: Gabriella Di Palma and Guido Guerra.

Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

Tuesday, February 26 at 3:30pm | Book Celebration: Roman Sources for the History of American Catholicism, 1763–1939.

Welcome and remarks by: Diane Walker (Hesburgh Libraries); Angela Fritz (University Archives); Jean McManus (Hesburgh Libraries); Stephen Wrinn (Notre Dame Press); and Kathleen Sprows Cummings (Cushwa Center). Refreshments to follow.

Sponsored by Hesburgh Libraries, University Archives, Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, and Notre Dame Press.

Thursday, February 28, 9:00am to 11:00am | Documenting Girls and Girlhood — Library Collections on Display.

In association with the International Girls Studies Association meeting, and the University of Notre Dame’s International Gender Studies Conference, Hesburgh Libraries’ Rare Books and Special Collections will host a display on the culture, literature, and history of girls and girlhood. Drawing on the Irish and American collections, there will be a fascinating array of books, manuscripts, periodicals, posters and artifacts demonstrating religious, rebellious, domestic, and literary girlhoods. Rachel Bohlmann, American history and gender studies librarian, and Aedín Clements, Irish studies librarian, will be available to provide tours and answer questions.


The spring exhibitAs Printers Printed Long Ago. The Saint Dominic’s Press 1916-1936, curated by Dennis Doordan (Emeritus Professor, Notre Dame School of Architecture), opened in January and runs through the summer. The exhibition features different types of publications and posters produced by Saint Dominic’s Press, setting the story of the press within the larger history of the private press movement in England and examining its artistic as well as literary achievements.

The current spotlight exhibits are: Theresienstadt (Terezín), in remembrance of all the victims of the Holocaust (January – February 2019), and Creeley/Marisol: Presences, an exhibit occasioned by the 2018 publication of a critical edition of Presences, edited by Stephen Fredman, Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Notre Dame (January – February 2019).

If you would like to bring a group to Special Collections or schedule a tour of any of our exhibits, please email rarebook @ nd.edu or call 574-631-0290.

Upcoming Events: January and early February

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

Thursday, January 24 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar: “German Presences: Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet and the Question of Authorship” by Prof. Alessia Ricciardi (Northwestern University).

Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

Friday, January 25 at 1:30pm |Panel Presentations in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, featuring William Collins Donahue (Director of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies), Judy Shroyer (the Jewish Federation), and Kevin Cawley (University of Notre Dame Archives). After the panel discussion, all attendees are invited to the Scholars Lounge for a reception.

Sponsored by: The Nanovic Institute for European StudiesCushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, the Jewish Federation, and Hesburgh Libraries.

Wednesday, January 30 RESCHEDULED DUE TO WEATHER
Thursday, January 31 at 3:00pm
| Exhibit Lecture: The Saint Dominic’s Press 1916-1936 by curator Dennis Doordan (Emeritus Professor, Notre Dame School of Architecture).


The spring exhibitAs Printers Printed Long Ago: The Saint Dominic’s Press 1916-1936, curated by Dennis Doordan (Emeritus Professor, Notre Dame School of Architecture), opens in January and runs through the summer. The exhibition features different types of publications and posters produced by Saint Dominic’s Press, setting the story of the press within the larger history of the private press movement in England and examining its artistic as well as literary achievements.

The current spotlight exhibits are: Theresienstadt (Terezín), in remembrance of all the victims of the Holocaust (January – February 2019), and Creeley/Marisol: Presences, an exhibit occasioned by the 2018 publication of a critical edition of Presences, edited by Stephen Fredman, Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Notre Dame (January – February 2019).

If you would like to bring a group to Special Collections or schedule a tour of any of our exhibits, please email rarebook @ nd.edu or call 574-631-0290.

National Hispanic Heritage Month 2018

We join the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and U.S. National Archives and Records Administration in celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Also in recognition of the anniversary of Hurricane María and Puerto Rico’s ongoing recovery struggle, this post highlights the island’s artistic heritage.

Puerto Rican Artists

by Erika Hosselkus, Curator, Latin American Collections

Puerto Rican artists Félix Rodríguez Báez, José A. Torres Martinó, Lorenzo Homar, and Rafael Tufiño (members of the Generation of ’50) formally established the Centro de Arte Puertorriqueño in 1950. This studio, art school, and gallery was influenced by the Taller de Gráfica Popular in Mexico and its mission of educating the public through art. At the same time, the member artists of the CAP used their work to express and assert a uniquely Puerto Rican identity.

This portfolio of 8 prints, published in the late 1960s by the Centro de Artes Gráficas Nacionales, includes two works by each of four key members of the Generation of ’50, Lorenzo Homar, Carlos Raquel Rivera, Rafael Tufiño, and J.A. Torres Martino. The pieces are reproduced from original prints and were chosen to portray the development in aesthetic of each artist since 1951, when the CAP issued its first portfolio.

Carlos Raquel Rivera’s first print, “Marea Alta,” owes much to the influence of the Taller de Gráfica Popular in both the social commentary made through its content and in its style. His second print, “El Pegao,” reflects what had become Rivera’s signature style, driven by a strong black/white contrast.

The contrast between the two prints submitted by Lorenzo Homar is striking also. “La Tormenta” a depiction of a man peering over his shoulder at an oncoming storm is poetic and suggestive while “La Vitrina,” a critical depiction of tourism in Puerto Rico is bold and aggressive in style.

As a whole, this collection attests to the strength and evolution of print-making as an activist art form in mid-century Puerto Rico.