Summer Archives Workshop in RBSC

RBSC_NB_Flyer_ArchivesWorkshop-Sum16
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This intensive workshop targets graduate students interested in conducting archival research. Participants will acquire a solid foundation in archival terminology, how to identify and use archives, and other fundamental skills.

The workshop will introduce best practices and some of the crucial cultural and practical differences between libraries and archives. It will also give attendees hands-on practice reading and transcribing different handwritings from various time periods, identifying important parts of manuscripts, and reading historical maps. We will also cover select participant-requested topics.

Monday-Friday, August 1-5, 2016
9 am-noon
Special Collections Seminar Room
(Hesburgh Library 103)

Register Online

Led by:
Rachel Bohlmann, Ph.D.
U.S. History and American Studies Librarian

Julie Tanaka, Ph.D.
Curator, Special Collections and Western European History Librarian

Questions or requests? Please email either Rachel or Julie.

ND’s Conservation Lab Looks at our Pico: Is it human?

by Sue Donovan, Rare Books Conservator

The conservation lab, a unit within Hesburgh Libraries Preservation, has been part of a collaborative effort to determine if a book owned by the University since 1916 was bound in human skin. The book, a volume of the works of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, a 15th-century humanist writer, contains newspaper clippings and handwritten affidavits attesting to the book’s past. These documents purport that the book was owned by Christopher Columbus and was bound in the skin of a Moorish chieftain, which had been obtained after the conversion of the Muslim population of Granada to Catholicism by the zealous Cardinal Cisneros in 1500. After contradictions were found in the provenance records, the conservation lab engaged in identifying the nature of the skin used for the binding.

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Opera Joannis Pici Mirandule Comitis Concordie, by Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (Argentinus: diligenter impressit industrius Ioannes Prüs Ciuis Argentinus Anno salutis 1503 Die vero XV Marcij i.e., 15 March 1504).

In January of 2015 two samples were taken—one from the purported human skin binding and one as a control from a book with a similar binding and of the same time period and country of production as the Pico volume. Finding an area that was relatively untouched was important so that there would be no contamination from proteins and grime from centuries of handling and consultation. Accordingly, small samples were taken from underneath the paper pastedowns of each book, and they were sent to the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), where they were analyzed through protein mass spectrometry. Proteins are more stable than DNA, and because of the unique patterns and mutations that exist across species, they can be used to determine whether a binding has been made with pig, sheep, calfskin, or human skin.

In the meantime, Conservator Liz Dube and I took the volume to the photo macroscopy lab on campus to see if we could determine any information about the origin of the skin through the pore and follicle patterns, but we left just as perplexed—perhaps even more so!—than when we arrived.

Based upon in-house tests, it was uncertain whether the Pico book was bound in human skin. We turned next to our outside collaborators for their expertise. To find out what they uncovered, read John Nagy’s article, “The Truth Uncovered,” in the Spring 2016 issue of Notre Dame Magazine.

Thanks to George Rugg for his research on the provenance of the Pico volume, Donald Siegle of the NYC OCME for his correspondence regarding protein mass spectrometry, and John Nagy for his research into the personalities behind this book’s ownership and for bringing the information together in his article.

 


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

“Fighting Words” digital exhibit

Notre Dame’s Rare Books and Special Collections is home to perhaps the strongest institutional collection of boxing-related books and periodicals in the United States. A selection of these wonderful materials may now be experienced virtually, via the digital exhibit Fighting Words: English and American Boxing Literature from the Joyce Sports Collection.

Modern prizefighting is of English origin, and had developed a distinctive culture with a rich and abundant literature by the turn of the nineteenth century. Fighting Words includes many scarce items from this so-called golden age of English pugilism (ca. 1790-1830). It then carries the story forward to the United States, which by the second half of the 19th century had become the fight game’s new center of gravity. Publishers like Richard Kyle Fox (The National Police Gazette) and Nathaniel “Nat” Fleischer (The Ring) were central to prizefighting’s emergence from illegality into the American sporting mainstream. The exhibit concludes with materials from the 1950s, hearkening the erosion of U.S. boxing culture in the second half of the 20th century.

Questions and comments should be directed to George Rugg, the Joyce Collection’s curator.

Upcoming Events: January

“First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare” on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library will arrive at Rare Books and Special Collections in the Hesburgh Library during the first days of 2016 as one of the first stops of the exhibit’s yearlong nationwide tour. The exhibit will open on Wednesday, January 6 with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony (read more below).

On-Going Exhibits

First Folio Exhibit

January 6th – January 29th
Rare Books & Special Collections (102 Hesburgh Library)

9:00am – 7:00pm  Mondays through Fridays
noon – 5:00pm  Saturdays and Sundays

Guided tours of the First Folio exhibit will be offered daily by Hesburgh librarians and curators — Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 3:30pm; Tuesday and Thursday at NOON; and Saturday and Sunday at 2:00pm.

Tours will meet by the entrance to Rare Books and Special Collections (102 Hesburgh Library, first floor). Reservations are not necessary. If you are planning to bring a group, please feel free to alert Rare Books and Special Collections directly about your visit: rarebook@nd.edu or 574-631-0290. Times are subject to change.

First Folio Banner, Costume Display and “Selfie Station”

January 3rd – end of January
1st Floor North Entrance Gallery, Hesburgh Library

View this self-guided exhibit whenever the library is open.

“Constructing Shakespeare” — a Spotlight Exhibit of RBSC Shakespeare Books

January 6th – January 29th
Rare Books & Special Collections (102 Hesburgh Library)

9:00am – 7:00pm  Mondays through Fridays
noon – 5:00pm  Saturdays and Sundays

Special Events

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Wednesday, January 6 at 4:16pm
1st Floor North Entrance Gallery, Hesburgh Library

In January, Shakespeare at Notre Dame kicks off “SHAKESPEARE: 1616-2016,” a yearlong series of performances, conferences and special events commemorating the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death and his legacy. The First Folio exhibit and Notre Dame’s year-long celebration officially launch at 16:16 (4:16 p.m.) Jan. 6 with the ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Hesburgh Library’s new North Entrance Gallery.

Formal remarks will precede the official ribbon cutting beginning with Scott Jackson (Executive Director of Shakespeare at Notre Dame), followed by Diane Walker (Edward H. Arnold University Librarian), Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. (President of the University of Notre Dame), Pete Buttigieg (Mayor of South Bend), and John T. McGreevy (I.A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters).

“Folio Fridays” Lecture Series

January 8 at 4:00pmPrinted Shakespeare: Quartos, Folios, and the History of Books by Jesse Lander (Chair, Department of English)
Rare Books & Special Collections, Hesburgh Library

January 15 at 4:00pm | Mobile Shakespeare by Elliott Visconsi (Chief Academic Digital Officer)
Rare Books & Special Collections, Hesburgh Library

January 22 at 4:00pmMr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies by Peter Holland (McMeel Family Chair in Shakespeare Studies)
Rare Books & Special Collections, Hesburgh Library

January 29 at 4:00pm |Centuries of Shakespeare by Michael Witmore (Director, Folger Shakespeare Library)
Carey Auditorium, Hesburgh Library

All four 90-minute lectures are free, open to the public, and located within the Hesburgh Library.

Shakespeare Week: January 18–22

During the third week of the First Folio exhibit – Monday, January 18 through Friday, January 22 – there will be increased traffic from 9am–3pm. Shakespeare at Notre Dame will be leading 90-minute encounters with over 1000 students from throughout Indiana and Southern Michigan.

Please be aware that access to the First Folio exhibit and to Rare Books and Special Collections resources will be limited during this time.

Upcoming Events: December and January

Rare Books and Special Collections will be closed for Christmas and New Year’s Break (December 24, 2015, through January 5, 2016). We remain open for our regular hours during Reading Days and Exams, and welcome those looking for a quiet place to study.

In January, RBSC will be host to the exhibit First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library. Notre Dame marks the official first stop of the First Folio national tour and exhibit. Shakespeare at Notre Dame, along with faculty from the College of Arts and Letters, and members of the distinguished Shakespeare residency company Actors from the London Stage will also host the “Folio Fridays” Lecture Series, performances, workshops, and special displays throughout the month of January to complement this momentous occasion.

The exhibit will open on Wednesday, January 6 with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony.

RBMS 2015

by Julie Tanaka, Curator, Special Collections, Western European History Librarian.

Bancroft_Library_-_University_of_California,_Berkeley_-_DSC04902Natasha 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 2015RBMS is a section of the Association for College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).