Upcoming Events: April and early May

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

Thursday, April 5 at 5:00pm | A talk on the reception of Medieval Catalan poet Ausiàs March in Early Modern Iberia, by Albert Lloret (UMass Amherst). Sponsored by Iberian and Latin American Studies, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.

Wednesday, April 11 at 4:30pm | “Centering Black Catholics, Reimagining American Catholicism” by Matthew Cressler (College of Charleston). Sponsored by the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism.

Thursday, April 19 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar: “From Surface to Symptom and Back Again: Reading Isabella d’Este’s Correspondence” by Deanna Shemek (University of California, Santa Cruz). Co-sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame and the William and Katherine Devers Program in Dante Studies.

Thursday, April 26 at 5:00pm | “Towards a New Biography of Dante Alighieri” by Paolo Pellegrini (Verona). Co-sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame and the William and Katherine Devers Program in Dante Studies.

Friday, May 4 at 1:00pm | Awards ceremony for the annual Undergraduate Library Research Award (ULRA), followed by a reception in the Special Collections Seminar Room (103 Hesburgh Library).


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 early April are From Distant Waters: Whaling Manuscripts in Special Collections and Baseball and Tin Pan Alley: Sheet Music from the Joyce Sports Collection, both curated by George Rugg. The baseball exhibit will end mid-month, with the exhibit Chaste, Choice and Chatty: Irish-American Periodicals of the Nineteenth Century, curated by Aedín Ní Bhróithe Clements, opening for the second half of the month and continuing through the summer.

Upcoming Events: March and early April

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.

Thursday, March 29 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar: “Atlantic Libraries: Renaissance Italy and the American Colonies” by Diego Pirillo (University of California, Berkeley). Co-sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame and the William and Katherine Devers Program in Dante Studies.

Thursday, April 5 at 5:00pm | A talk on the reception of Medieval Catalan poet Ausiàs March in Early Modern Iberia by Albert Lloret (UMass Amherst). Sponsored by Iberian and Latin American Studies, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.

 

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.

What do you have in Special Collections: We have Manuscripts…

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.

Cod. Lat. b. 2, f. 125r. Dominican Psalter. Germany, 15th c.

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.

Personal letter on patriotic letterhead of Union Civil War soldier Elhanan W. Moberly, Co. C, 6th Indiana Infantry. (MSN/CW 1005-27)

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.

Of the antient characters called ogam, 1819? (MSE/IR 1400-01)

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.

Jorge Luis Borges, “Coplas”. Hand drawn illustration of a couple dancing the tango with accompanying verse. (MSH/SCL 1044-01)

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.

Page from a journal of showing both handwritten text and pasted down content.
Rusudana Nikolaevna Nikoladze illustrated memoir, ca. 1926, 1960s. Folder 13 (MSE/REE 0001 PN200-13-Boxed)

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).

All manuscripts held by Rare Books and Special Collections are freely accessible to Notre Dame students and faculty as well as to the general public. A portion of the manuscript collections may be accessed through their online finding aids, which describe their contents. Medieval manuscripts are 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 (University of Notre Dame Press, 2016). For all other manuscripts collections, or if you have specific questions, contact the appropriate curator of the subject area of your interest.

Upcoming Events: January and early February

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

Thursday, January 25 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar: “Giovanni Pico della Mirandola’s Afterlife: the Two Picos and Later Transformations of Renaissance Humanism” by Denis Robichaud (University of Notre Dame). Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

 

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.

Upcoming Events: December and early January

Rare Books and Special Collections will be closed for Christmas and New Year’s Break (December 22, 2017, through January 1, 2018). In addition, RBSC will be closed December 5, 11:00am to 2:00pm due to the Hesburgh Libraries Christmas lunch.

We otherwise remain open for our regular hours during Reading Days and Exams, and welcome those looking for a quiet place to study.

The fall exhibit, Elements of Humanity: Primo Levi and the Evolution of Italian Postwar Culture, continues to be on display through December 15, 2017. Public tours of the exhibit are offered Tuesdays at noon and Wednesdays at 3pm, and are also available by request for classes or other groups, including K-12 audiences. 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 is Building A Colonial Mexican Tavern: Archive of the Pulquería El Tepozán, curated by Erika Hosselkus. This exhibit features a manuscript archive which includes real estate, licensing, and planning documents for the pulquería El Tepozán. It was one of four such establishments built by nobleman don Pedro Romero de Terreros, the Count of Regla, in Mexico City, beginning in the final years of the 1770s.

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.

National Native American Heritage Month 2017

We join the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in recognizing the rich histories and traditions of Native Americans during this National Native American Heritage Month.


Alfred W. Ramsey and the Carlisle Indian Industrial School
by George Rugg, Curator, Special Collections

In January 1909 Alfred W. Ramsey (1883-1955) accepted a provisional appointment as business teacher at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He was formally hired in March following a satisfactory result on his Civil Service examination. Ramsey was charged with organizing a business department at the school, to complement its trade and academic programs. He resigned his position effective 1 November 1910, apparently disillusioned with the Indian Service and the school.

Panorama of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School campus, 1909. (MSN/MN 0503-110-F2)

The Carlisle Indian Industrial School was founded in 1879 by Captain Richard Henry Pratt, as part of a government project designed to “kill the Indian, save the man.” In Ramsey’s day it was overseen by the Office of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior. Carlisle became the model for 25 government Indian schools, founded on the premise that Native Americans could be equal to European Americans, provided they assimilate into European American society and culture. While the school removed Native American children from poverty and provided them with a free education, it also encouraged children to abandon their native cultures.

The Alfred W. Ramsey Papers, acquired by RBSC in 2014, include a wealth of material from Ramsey’s time at Carlisle. Among the manuscripts are examples of student writing and typing exercises; copies of addresses by Carlisle administrators (especially superintendent Moses Friedman) and commencement speakers; school mission and policy statements; and essays on character and behavior with a bearing on Indian education. Some of this material would have been generated as a consequence of Ramsey’s teaching (including instruction in typing), but much of it was the result of his de facto status as clerical assistant to Friedman. There are also two memory books preserved by Ramsey, with questionnaires filled out in manuscript by 79 different Carlisle students.

Carlisle Indian Industrial School student memory book, 1910 February-November. (MSN/MN 0503-65)
The Red Man, 1910 February. (MSN/MN 0503-89)

The printed matter includes a broad selection of items from the Carlisle Indian Press; printing was one of the trades taught at the school, and Edgar Miller, the program’s superintendent, was a particular friend of Ramsey’s. Included are runs of school periodicals like the weekly The Carlisle Arrow and the monthly The Indian Craftsman (later titled The Red Man). There are also pamphlets, programs, broadsides, dance cards, and other ephemera.

Photographs include panoramas of the Carlisle campus and a number of group portraits of the student cast of the comic opera “The Captain of Plymouth”—the subject of next week’s blog.

Upcoming Events: November and early December

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

Thursday, November 16 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar: “Alberti and Poetry” by Maria Sole Costanzo (PhD candidate, Notre Dame). Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

Rare Books and Special Collections will be closed for Thanksgiving Break (November 23-24, 2017). In addition, RBSC will be closed December 5, 11:00am to 2:00pm due to the Hesburgh Libraries Christmas lunch.

 

The fall exhibit, Elements of Humanity: Primo Levi and the Evolution of Italian Postwar Culture, continues to be on display through December 15, 2017. Public tours of the exhibit are offered Tuesdays at noon and Wednesdays at 3pm, and are also available by request for classes or other groups, including K-12 audiences. 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 is Building A Colonial Mexican Tavern: Archive of the Pulquería El Tepozán, curated by Erika Hosselkus. This exhibit features a manuscript archive which includes real estate, licensing, and planning documents for the pulquería El Tepozán. It was one of four such establishments built by nobleman don Pedro Romero de Terreros, the Count of Regla, in Mexico City, beginning in the final years of the 1770s.

The summer spotlight exhibit, “Which in future time shall stir the waves of memory” — Friendship Albums of Antebellum America remains open for one more week. The winter spotlight exhibit, Baseball and Tin Pan Alley: Sheet Music from the Joyce Sports Collection, will open in mid-November and highlights the department’s collection of approximately 400 pieces of baseball related sheet music.

Upcoming Events: September and early October

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

Tuesday, September 5 at 4:00pm | Opening reception for the fall exhibit, Elements of Humanity: Primo Levi and the Evolution of Italian Postwar Culture. This exhibit is curated by Tracy Bergstrom (Curator, Italian Imprints and Dante Collection) and opens on August 21.

Friday, September 15 at 4:00pm | Dedication program for Emily Young’s sculpture Lethos, to be followed by a reception in the Carey Courtyard View Area (Second Floor – Hesburgh Library). Sponsored by the Hesburgh Libraries and the Alumni Committee for Poetry and Sculpture.

Thursday, September 21 at 5:00pm | The Italian Research Seminar: “Titian’s Icons” by Christopher J. Nygren (Pittsburgh). Sponsored by Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

The monthly spotlight exhibit for September is The Art of Botanical Illustration: Philip Miller’s Gardeners Dictionary.

The summer spotlight exhibit, “Which in future time shall stir the waves of memory” — Friendship Albums of Antebellum America, continues to be on display through September and features seven volumes from Special Collections’ manuscripts of North America holdings.

Life in Camp: Drawings from British prisoners interned at Ruhleben Camp during the First World War

by Sara Quashnie, M.L.I.S. Candidate, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

At the outbreak of the First World War, there were approximately 10,000 British nationals within the borders of the German Reich. Some were on holiday while others had resided in the country their entire lives or were passing through as sailors aboard merchant vessels. Regardless of background, their British citizenship marked them for suspicion in the eyes of the German government as well as retaliation for the plight of German nationals in Great Britain. Therefore, it was determined that male British nationals of military age were to be arrested and interned for the duration of the war (though with the possibility for freedom through prisoner exchanges). While various camps were hastily constructed to house these detainees, Ruhleben was the only camp that was entirely populated by civilian prisoners.

Constructed on the grounds of a horse racing track on the outskirts of Berlin, Ruhleben would house over 4,000 prisoners at its height. Inmates were barracked in repurposed stables in extremely poor condition due to the inadequate facilities. Over time and with the intervention of the American ambassador, Ruhleben would grow to include not only upgraded barracks and latrines, but also a library, school, stores, and post office. Lack of privacy was a perpetual concern for the men while at the same time they were virtually cut off from the rest of civilization apart from Red Cross parcels and short letters from home. As a result the camp formed its own community complete with newspaper, theater productions, sports teams, and various clubs to keep boredom at bay.

Printed version above (MSE/MD 3829-3B) and scrapbook version below (MSE/MD 3829-1B) of a dual advertisement.

One such endeavor was In Ruhleben Camp and its successor The Ruhleben Camp Magazine. Special Collections recently acquired a full set of these issues in two bound volumes accompanied by a bound, two-volume scrapbook containing original drawings from the magazine. Published fortnightly, the magazine included stories and cartoons parodying camp life as well as reports of camp activities such as reviews of musicals, sports recaps, and advertisements for lectures. A marked tone of humor is prevalent throughout, in keeping with the unofficial camp slogan “Are we downhearted? No!” An in-depth chronicle of camp life, the magazine represents some of the best documentation of the Ruhleben experience.

 

The highlight of this collection is the two-volume scrapbook. Bound in pasteboard and measuring 16.5″ x 12.75,” the scrapbook contains 53 original drawings in pen-and-ink, watercolor, and graphite. Although the purpose of the scrapbook is not certain, material on the front cover indicates that the scrapbook was a mock-up for a London publisher, George Newnes Ltd., to use for the publication of a book to be called, “The Lighter Side of Lager Life.” Who compiled the scrapbook is also unknown, but it may have been one of the magazine’s editors, Louis Egerton Filmore or C. G. Pemberton.

The scrapbook volumes include original illustration, many of which did not appear in the printed magazines. The drawings depict camp life in a vivid display of the camp’s signature humor. Original artwork is paired with clippings that parody classic British texts such as “Alice Through the Lager Glass” and Shakespeare rewritings. These parodies were some of the most popular types of entries in the printed magazine. Other literary pieces included poetry known as “Ruhlimericks” which poked fun at camp conditions and life or humorous advertisements for various services.

 


Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Summer 2017 Exhibits

Detail of the Great Lakes region of the map on display (MAN 1719-01-F3).

The June spotlight exhibit, on display through the end of the month, is J. P. Homann’s “Buffalo Map,” ca. 1720.

On display is a map of North America by the important German cartographer J. P. Homann, emphasizing French claims in the Mississippi River Valley in the early eighteenth century. The map is one of several hundred items making up the Edward and Sheila Scanlan Collection of Maps of the Great Lakes Region, donated by the Scanlans to the Hesburgh Libraries in 2003-04. The exhibit is curated by George Rugg (Curator, Special Collections).

The July spotlight exhibit will feature German children’s literature from the two World Wars, and will be co-curated by Sara Quashnie (MLIS Candidate, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, ND ’15) and Julie Tanaka (Curator, Special Collections).


The Summer spotlight exhibit, on display now through September, is “Which in future time shall stir the waves of memory” — Friendship Albums of Antebellum America. On display are seven manuscripts from Special Collections’ manuscripts of North America holdings.

Among the characteristic manuscript forms of antebellum America are albums filled with poetry, prose, drawings, and other content created for the book’s owner by family and acquaintances. Such friendship albums, as they are called, have a long history, but they were especially prevalent in the Romantic era, with its new ideology of sentimental friendship. In the United States friendship albums begin to appear in number in the 1820s, and while contributors were often male, the albums themselves were usually maintained by young women.

The exhibit is curated by George Rugg (Curator, Special Collections).


The current main exhibit, “Preserving the Steadfastness of Your Faith”: Catholics in the Early American Republic, continues through the summer and will close August 11, 2017.