Upcoming Events: March and early April

Please join us for the following events being hosted in Rare Books and Special Collections (102 Hesburgh Library):

Wednesday, March 22 at 4:00pm | Exhibit Talk“Saint Elizabeth Seton: A Reading Life” by Catherine O’Donnell. Co-sponsored by the Hesburgh Libraries and the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism.

NOTE: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED
Thursday, March 30 April 27 at 5:00pm
| The Italian Research Seminar“Living on borders: Cityscapes in transformation in Italian literature and cinema of the ‘Economic Miracle’ ” by Alberto LoPinto (Notre Dame). Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

The current exhibits are:

“Preserving the Steadfastness of your Faith”: Catholics in the Early American Republic.

Join co-curators Rachel Bohlmann (American History Librarian) and Jean McManus (Catholic Studies Librarian) for a guided tour Thursdays at 12:30 pm through March (excluding Spring Break, March 16), and learn more about American Catholic history held in the library’s Rare Books and Special Collections and ND Archives. Tours will last up to an hour.

To schedule a class or group tour, please contact Rachel Bohlmann via email or phone: (574) 631-1575.

Spotlight ExhibitsBram Stoker’s Lecture on Abraham Lincoln and The Nathaniel Rogers Sermon Notebook, ca. 1634-1645.

Research Finds: The Enduring Joy of Friendship for Young Women

While searching for primary sources she could access nearby to develop a seminar paper on the lives of women in the nineteenth century, Jenifer Blouin, a master’s candidate in History at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, ran across the online description of friendship albums and commonplace books at Notre Dame. Intrigued, she made the trek south.

As she read through seven or eight albums, Jenifer realized that they not only gave her, as she states in an email interview with Special Collections, “a really good look into the lives of young women in the 19th century—especially how their friendships played out”—but that they also provided unexpected access to the young women writers themselves. Her close reading of the texts told her “a lot about young women’s friendships,” but more interestingly, it revealed an interesting preoccupation these women had with “ideas of eternity and things that are everlasting.”

Given the dearth of scholarship on friendship albums, Jenifer’s project is a welcome addition. Her research, in particular, expands upon a topic that two historians, Anya Jabour and Catherine Kelly, according to Jenifer, only briefly mention, namely the enduring nature of friendship. During her analysis of the albums, Jenifer examined the messages friends left to the album’s owner as well as the physical artifacts themselves.

image of curry manuscript
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One particularly fruitful investigation centered around the album of Harriet Curry. Jenifer noticed that a note, “drowned in Lake Erie,” after an entry by Abby Jane Williams differed in color from the ink used in the entry. This began Jenifer’s search to verify if Williams did drown in Lake Erie and to identify who wrote that note. Jenifer recounts:

After some online searching using the search terms “Abby Jane Williams” and “Lake Erie,” I found a book titled Lloyd’s Steamboat Directory, and Disasters on the Western Waters (published 1856) that detailed the account the burning of the steamer Erie in 1841. Among the listed dead was a Mrs. Giles Williams. I was later able to corroborate that this was the same Williams who had left an entry in Harriet Curry’s friendship album by locating her record on ancestry.com and findagrave.com, which confirmed that Abby Jane’s husband was indeed named Giles. Giles apparently survived the boat’s burning.

Still to be resolved was who wrote the note. After further analysis of the album’s contents, Jenifer concluded that “drowned in Lake Erie” was written by Harriet Curry herself. This was in line with similar notes in the diary “denot[ing] when one of her friends had gotten married, moved away, or died.” Jenifer further explains, “This, to me, showed that even after years had passed, Harriet still cared about her friends. Her friendship lasted forever, just like many of her friends wrote in her friendship album.”

The Curry example was but one among numerous pieces of evidence that Jenifer located in the albums she consulted to argue that these albums contained an “exhortation to . . . trust in everlasting eternal things,” rather than “temporal things that would eventually pass away.” She identified that there were certain everlasting qualities valued by these women; these were “God, prayer, and friendship itself.” Her research brought her to the conclusion that these young women writers:

valued the everlasting over the ephemeral. Transitory things such as youth, beauty, and suffering were dismissed in favor of enduring communion with God and friends. Friendship, of course, was the ultimate enduring joy to these women, and the survival of their friendship albums through to the present day proves the unending nature of their affections.

The argument substantiating these conclusions can be found in Jenifer’s article, “Eternal Perspectives in Nineteenth-Century Friendship Albums,” published in The Hilltop Review, Western Michigan University’s journal of graduate student research.

Jenifer Blouin earned her BA in History from Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana in 2015 and expects to earn her MA in Public History from Western Michigan University in December 2017. Her research focuses on the historical significance of cemeteries as sites of memory and cultural resources. More generally, Jenifer is interested in gender and women’s history.

Special Collections thanks Jenifer for her time and for sharing the results of her research that brought the friendship albums in our collections to light. We also appreciate the review she wrote of our department for the American Historical Association’s Archives Wiki.

 


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The Mary Huntington Morgan Diary and Campus Collaboration

Mary Huntington Morgan was the daughter of Daniel Nash Morgan (1844-1931), Treasurer of the United States during Grover Cleveland’s administration. Her diary from 1896 (MSN/MN 8009-1-B) recounts the life of this young, single socialite in the nation’s capital.

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She narrates the demands of such a life—lunches and teas, dinners and dances, theater performances and lectures, ceremonial appearances at government events and diplomatic receptions. Yet, Mary also pens her personal endeavors, weaving through her music lessons and letter writing to her fondness for reading.

This semester (Spring 2017), the department piloted a new project to facilitate the diary’s use by a class in the Notre Dame History department, the United States’ Gilded Age. Collaborating with the professor, Special Collections digitized and made the Mary Huntington Morgan diary available in the Hesburgh Library’s new digital artifact viewer. In addition to being able to work with the physical object in Special Collections, students now have the opportunity to study the diary more extensively using the digital artifact, not only reading its contents but also learning skills such as how to transcribe text. The digitized artifact has made it possible for a class of 15 students to work on the same item simultaneously and to discuss their work and the diary itself in their own classroom.

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The Julia Stevens Buffington diary (MSN/MN 8009-1-B) has also been digitized for use this semester in another History class, the U.S. in the World in the 20th Century. Special Collections invites instructors interested in collaborating on similar projects to contact the department.

 

Recent Acquisition: Leaf from a 13th-century illuminated Flemish Psalter-Hours

by David T. Gura, Curator, Ancient and Medieval Manuscripts

Frag. I. 36 is a single leaf from a type of devotional manuscript known as a Psalter-Hours. As its name implies, the book contained a Psalter as well as the Hours of the Virgin accompanied by other texts. The Psalter-Hours grew in popularity among the laity in the mid to late thirteenth century, whereas the few earlier examples were used by monastics. The Book of Hours became far more common in later centuries for the laity and eventually displaced the Psalter-Hours, though not completely.

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This particular leaf contains a portion of the Office for the Dead, which the living would pray to ease the departed’s time in Purgatory. The end of Job 10.20 is followed by a responsory and a versicle. The text on the verso breaks off at Psalm 22.2.

The decorative borders are typical of Flemish painting during the thirteenth century. The initials are inhabited by grotesques and a playful illustration of a dog chasing a hare occupies the lower margin of the verso.

This fragment is fully described in David T. Gura, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts of the University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2016), pp. 452-53. Expected publication: November 2016.

 


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Recent Acquisition: Cristina Peri Rossi Papers

Poster promoting publication of Peri Rossi’s novel, La nave de los locos.
Poster promoting publication of Peri Rossi’s novel, La nave de los locos.

by David Dressing, Latin American and Iberian Studies Librarian, and Erika Hosselkus, Curator, Latin American Collections

Since the late 1960s, Uruguayan writer Cristina Peri Rossi has written 5 novels, 10 collections of short stories, 18 books of poetry, 4 books of essays, and innumerable cultural articles published in major European newspapers. Her works have garnered critical praise and won her many international awards over the years.

In the early 1970s, Peri Rossi was exiled from Uruguay to Spain as the country came under control of a military regime. The political violence endemic in Uruguay and the broader Southern Cone during the 1970s and 1980s is allegorized in many of her works. This violence and censorship affected an entire generation of authors and intellectuals from Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile and influenced their work. In recent critical studies, these authors have been recognized as the “Generation of ’72,” with Peri Rossi often being identified as the leading voice of this group.

The Cristina Peri Rossi Papers at Notre Dame include manuscript drafts of her published novels as well as unpublished poems and short stories, handwritten diaries, photographs, recorded interviews, and correspondence with family, friends, and other major Latin American and Spanish authors and intellectuals.

Draft of Peri Rossi’s poetry collection, Estado de exilio, with note signed by the author and the book, published in 2003, by Colección Visor de Poesía. The collection won the XVIII Premio Internacional Unicaja de Poesía Rafael Alberti. City Lights Publishers produced a bilingual (Spanish/English) edition of the book in 2008.
Draft of Peri Rossi’s poetry collection, Estado de exilio, with note signed by the author and the book, published in 2003, by Colección Visor de Poesía. The collection won the XVIII Premio Internacional Unicaja de Poesía Rafael Alberti. City Lights Publishers produced a bilingual (Spanish/English) edition of the book in 2008.
Two photos showing Peri Rossi with others.
Top photo: Peri Rossi with Julio Cortázar and two friends, Barcelona, 1974.
Bottom photo: Peri Rossi with publisher and poet, Carlos Barral, Barcelona, 1989.
Letter to Peri Rossi from Uruguayan poet, essayist, and critic Hugo Achúgar.
Letter to Peri Rossi from Uruguayan poet, essayist, and critic Hugo Achúgar.

 


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Recent Acquisition: Medieval Manuscript Facsimile

by Julia Schneider, Medieval Studies Librarian 

The Bamberg Apocalypse facsimile is an original-format copy of a manuscript commissioned by Otto III (980-1002 AD). After his untimely death, the manuscript was left unfinished in the scriptorium of the Benedictine Abbey of Reichenau in Southern Germany. His successor, Henry II (973-1024 AD) ordered it finished. Thus, the manuscript dates to 1000-1020.

Containing 106 leaves in total, the first fifty-seven leaves of the Bamberg Apocalypse (Bamberg, Staatsbibliothek, Msc. Bibl. 140) contain the text and images of the Apocalypse of St. John from the Bible (a.k.a., Revelation). The remaining leaves of the manuscript include gospel pericopes (extracted readings) for specific feasts. There are a hundred decorated initials throughout the manuscript along with fifty-seven images, or miniatures, forty-nine of which provide striking visual interpretations of the prophecies contained in the Apocalypse concerning the end of the world and the final judgment, all with significant gold decoration.

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The image shown above, described in the facing text, depicts Apocalypse 12:1-5. The woman, who has brought forth a man child, is clothed with the sun and has the moon under her feet. The great dragon with its seven heads and ten horns looks on in the foreground. Though the text describes a red dragon, the image features a multi-colored dragon—red, gold, and purple. Standing in the background is the Church that houses the Ark of the Covenant.

There were many ornate apocalypses and apocalypse commentaries produced during the Middle Ages, and, while we do not own the manuscripts, Hesburgh Libraries’ Rare Books and Special Collections houses facsimiles of several in addition to this recently acquired version. Be sure to search “apocalypse” in our database of facsimiles for more information on these fascinating, illustrated manuscript facsimiles.

 

“Vestigia Vaticana” Exhibit Opens

Frag_I_39-1r-cropped-v2Manuscripts, incunabula, seals, maps, engravings, and printed books from the thirteenth century to the present highlight how the Holy Father has left his mark on society. These materials from RBSC, together with a great bull on loan from Saint Mary’s College, are featured in the new exhibit “Vestigia Vaticana.” The exhibit’s opening coincides with the conference The Promise of the Vatican Library, being held May 8–10, 2016, at the University of Notre Dame.

These materials are like the Vatican’s footprints. They provide a trail for us to follow to get a glimpse of the official acts of the Holy Father, of books that belonged to popes, of events the general public wasn’t privy to. Take a stroll through the exhibit to see these papal bulls, apostolic briefs, a papal conclave print, a ground plan of Rome, and various other pieces.

“Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion” Exhibit Opens

This year marks the centenary of the Easter Rising, the rebellion that led to the eventual establishment of an Irish Free State. The University of Notre Dame’s Keough-Naughton Institute is at the forefront of the impetus to re-examine the events of 1916, with Professor Bríona Nic Dhiarmada’s three-part documentary, 1916 The Irish Rebellion which will be shown on public television in Ireland, the U.S. and at screenings throughout the world.

Notre Dame will also be the center of Irish studies for five days this spring as host to ACIS (the American Conference for Irish Studies). Over a thousand visitors are expected at this conference.

Case5-Women-of-1916

In Hesburgh Libraries Rare Books and Special Collections, a special exhibit to mark this centenary is on display from February 12th until April 28th.

The exhibit draws from the Hesburgh Special Collections and includes books written by people involved in the events as well as contemporary accounts of the rebellion. Letters on display include one from Roger Casement. An extremely rare first edition of W. B. Yeats’s poem Easter, 1916 is part of the exhibit.

From the University Archives, a book recording the subscriptions of South Bend residents to an Irish government bond will be on display.

The exhibit is open to the public from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday.

Bram Stoker’s Manuscript of His Lecture on Abraham Lincoln

Bram Stoker (1847-1912), when he was manager of the renowned English actor Henry Irving, made many trips to the United States. Over the course of these visits and perhaps after meeting the poet Walt Whitman in 1884, he became intrigued by Abraham Lincoln. In the late 1880s and 1890s, Stoker lectured on Lincoln at numerous venues in both the United States and Europe.

In composing his lecture, Stoker drew on many of the standard sources of the day and also quotes Whitman. Stoker emphasizes slavery throughout and Lincoln’s role as emancipator. A long prelude provides background on the “peculiar institution” in the United States and the sectional crisis of the 1850s. Then follows the life of Lincoln proper. Stoker’s attitude toward his subject is reverent in the extreme. Explaining that “the hour had come for the final struggle . . . between slavery and freedom,” Stoker reiterates to the audience in introducing his subject, “The hour had come—and with it . . . came the man—Abraham Lincoln.”

Notre Dame holds the original, working copy of Bram Stoker’s 152-page, unbound manuscript. Approximately half of the Notre Dame manuscript is a single, essentially sustained narrative though deletions, additions, and corrections abound. The rest consists of variations on portions of that narrative inserted, perhaps, to suit a particular audience.

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Folio 19r, showing the first example of the beginning of the lecture (MSE/IR 5304-1B).
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Folio 98r, showing a variation on the beginning of the lecture (MSE/IR 5304-1B).
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Folio 99r, showing another version of the beginning of the lecture (MSE/IR 5304-1B).
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Folio 160r, showing a third version of the beginning of the lecture (MSE/IR 5304-1B).

Evgeniia Ginzburg and Antonina Axenova Collection

Ginzburg and Axenova in Magadan, 1953.

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The Evgeniia Ginzburg and Antonina Axenova Collection is now open to students and researchers. The collection consists of several parts. The most important part revolves around Evgeniia Ginzburg (1904-1977), who spent 18 years in the Stalin GULAG and who chronicled those years in her memoir translated into English as: Journey into the Whirlwind and Within the Whirlwind. Ginzburg’s classic work is one of the earliest revelations of the Stalin camps and remains one of the most significant. The collection contains arrest documents, letters, some manuscript material, and many original photographs.

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Antonina Axenova with Evgenii Karelskikh in the movie I Serve on the Frontier (Lenfilm, 1974).

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Another part of the collection revolves around Antonina Axenova, who was born in the Kolyma camps and who was adopted by Ginzburg in 1949. Axenova became a film and stage actress, and the archive includes her documents, letters, photographs, scripts, programs, playbills, broadsides, and advertisements. Beisdes her career Axenova has also dedicated herself to preserving the legacy of her mother. She visited former KGB archives, made several trips back to the sites of the camps in the Kolyma region, and gathered together all of the material in the archive.

For a description of the collection’s over 700 items, see the finding aid. The collection also includes almost 100 books from the libraries of Ginzburg and Axenova. These books have been cataloged and can be located through the online catalog.