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 celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month.
This year we share two issues of the comic book, El Gato Negro (The Black Cat), created by American artist Richard Dominguez. The popular series debuted in 1993 and narrates the adventures the Hispanic superhero, El Gato Negro, a vigilante crime fighter in Southwest Texas. Special Collections holds single copies of issues 3 and 4.
Packed with action and defined by dynamic imagery, this graphic title fits solidly within the comic book genre. It also takes on current events, issues in Mexican, Mexican American, and American history, and popular culture in a whole variety of ways.
Francisco Guerrero, the man behind the El Gato Negro mask, is a social worker in Southwest Texas whose friend, Mario, a border patrol officer, was murdered by drug traffickers. Guerrero takes on the El Gato Negro identity at night to fight against drug-related violence, even while being targeted by local law enforcement. His name combines the first name of Francisco Madero, a hero of the Mexican Revolution, with “guerrero,” or “warrior.” Across its 4 issues, the comic book series references Hispanic soldiers who fought in the Korean War, the Zapatista movement in Mexico, and lucha libre (Mexican professional wrestling). As such, this title speaks to parts of the Mexican American experience in late twentieth-century America in fun and fascinating ways.
A pair of finely crafted, meticulously detailed, and distinctively shaped books—a baseball-glove shaped book and a baseball-shaped book—are among the Joyce Sports Research Collections newest acquisitions. The two unusually-shaped publications are both early-twentieth-century souvenir programs of the Union Printers National Baseball League Tournament from 1908 and 1911, respectively. Sponsored each year by the International Typographical Union (ITU), the tournament brought together teams representing the ITU from different cities for several days of sports, camaraderie, and brotherhood. Labor Day seems a fitting time to explore the history of these unique books and to remember the Union Printers National Baseball League Tournament.
The first Union Printers National Baseball League Tournament took place in New York City in September of 1908. To mark the festive occasion, the Allied Printing Trades Council of New York lovingly designed and published the First Printers’ National Baseball Tournament Souvenir Program in the shape of a realistic looking catcher’s mitt. The New York printers seemed to relish the opportunity to show off their craft for their visiting colleagues with this elaborate and creatively shaped program.
The 1908 catcher’s mitt souvenir program describes the origins of the Union Printers National Baseball League Tournament. As early as 1883, union printers in New York City had organized the New York Morning Newspaper Baseball League with teams representing different New York and Brooklyn newspapers. In 1906 and 1907, the squad from the New York American and Journal won the championship, and, after the regular season, team manager Harry B. Wood arranged several games against ITU teams representing the Boston Globe and the Pittsburgh Dispatch. The 1908 souvenir program reported that during their road trip to Pittsburgh, “the light of geniality and the warmth of hospitality from the sun of fraternity and good fellowship was ever on the job.”
Following the successful inter-city matches, Wood hatched his grand plan for an ITU national baseball tournament. He formed an organizing committee, helped draft a constitution, and invited union printers from Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Washington, DC, to come to New York for the event. Each invited city received an informational prospectus that included a framed six-color formal invitation designed by New York artist Harry Goodwin that recipients later described as “a work of art.” The 1908 catcher’s mitt souvenir program, which Goodwin also took the lead in designing, featured a black-and-white reproduction of the elaborate invitation.
All eight cities accepted the offer to compete in the tournament that was held in the stadium of the New York Yankees. Boston beat Pittsburgh 5-1 in the 1908 finals to win the inaugural title. For their victory, Boston received the traveling International Typographical Union Championship Trophy that had been donated to the ITU by Cincinnati Reds Owner August Hermann. The first tournament proved to be a rousing success, and it soon became a highly anticipated ITU annual event.
After Chicago (1909) and Washington, DC (1910), St. Louis was the host city for the fourth annual tournament in 1911. Like their counterparts in New York, the Allied Printing Trades Council of St. Louis and the local union printers league, known as the “St. Louis Typo Athletic Association,” spared little expense in designing and printing a lavish baseball-shaped Souvenir Program for the Union Printers National Baseball League Fourth Annual Tournament. The color cover featured pennants for all participating cities, which had expanded to include Denver and Indianapolis, and an image of the Hermann ITU Championship Trophy.
Teams in the Union Printers National Baseball League Tournament were composed of all-star squads representing ITU leagues in each participating city. The New York league, for instance, explained in the 1911 program that the association’s Board of Director’s chose the tournament roster from the pool of eligible athletes: “every player has an equal chance to become a member of the team representing New York in the National Tournament even [if] his team finishes last in the league. This rule causes a good player on a poor team to be satisfied and keeps up interest in the organization.”
The 1911 souvenir program also emphasized that the participants were both serious athletes and serious union men: “this league differs materially from the great majority [by] the fact that all players must be printers and members of the International Typographical Union, or registered apprentices who have served two and one half years at the trade. From this it will be seen that it is not such an easy matter to get together a representative baseball team to compete in these tournaments.”
International Typographical Union President James M. Lynch also gave his endorsement in the 1911 program, praising the “healthy outdoor recreation” and the “advertising value” of the baseball tournament. He also reminded readers about the ITU’s organizing efforts, which “endeavored to impart dignity to the craft by assisting in the maintenance of just and equitable rights of the individual craftsman and cementing the bonds of friendship and brotherhood that should exist between all men, and especially those of a distinctive craft.”
Most importantly, though, as the 1908 catcher’s mitt souvenir program had proclaimed a few years earlier, the Union Printers Baseball League National Tournament had the “purpose of promoting good fellowship and pure amateur sport.” Happy Labor Day!
RBSC is closed Monday, September 4th, for Labor Day.
The current spotlight exhibits are Language and Materiality in Late Medieval England (February – early May 2023) and Hagadah shel Pesaḥ le-zekher ha-Shoʼah – Pessach Haggadah in memory of the Holocaust (April – May 2023).
Rare Books and Special Collections is open regular hours during the summer — 9:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday.
RBSC will be closed Monday, May 29th, for Memorial Day and Tuesday, July 4th, for Independence Day.
The Treaty of 1922 resulted in the formation of the Irish Free State. This tenth anniversary book, published under the Minister for Industry and Commerce and edited by Bulmer Hobson, is intended to show the world how Ireland has developed in all areas, from science and industry to education and art. The book is profusely illustrated.
The cover design by Art O’Murnaghan (1872-1954), is clearly making reference to the style of early Irish illuminated manuscripts. This decorative style, based on the art of illuminated manuscripts such as the Book of Kells and the Book of Durrow, became very popular during the Celtic Revival of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
An earlier example of the celebration of early Irish art is found in ‘The Cromlech on Howth’, a book that combines the fascination and research into Irish art and literature with a poem by Samuel Ferguson, decoration by Margaret Stokes, and an essay on Irish script by George Petrie.
Shamrocks and harps, however, have been used as emblems of Ireland for centuries, and in America in particular, book bindings of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries proclaim the Irish context with a harp, a decoration of shamrocks, or both. In The Days of a Life, by “Norah” (Margaret Dixon McDougall), is a story of Ireland showing the plight of the laborers and the abuse of the landlord class, from the perspective of a young Canadian visitor. The additional images of a round tower and the ruins of a castle or monastery are also typically suggestive of Ireland’s history.
The tiny edition of Thomas Moore’s extraordinarily popular Irish Melodies shown here includes a ‘female harp’ combining the harp, a symbol of Ireland with the female personification of Ireland. Among Moore’s Melodies, ‘The Harp that Once Through Tara’s Hall’ is one of Moore’s many references to the harp.
The harp that once through Tara’s hall The soul of music shed, Now hangs as mute on Tara’s walls As if that soul were fled. So sleeps the pride of former days, So glory’s thrill is o’er, And hearts, that once beat high for praise, Now feel that pulse no more.
No more to chiefs and ladies bright The harp of Tara swells: The chord alone that breaks at night, Its tale of ruin tells. Thus freedom now so seldom wakes, The only throb she gives, Is when some heart indignant breaks. To show that still she lives.
A Philadelphia edition of Mrs. S. C. Hall’s stories, Wearing of the Green, or, Sketches of Irish Character, published in 1868, has a winged woman as part of the harp.
This bound set of issues of Duffys Hibernian Magazine, published in Dublin in 1860, bears the bookplate Mathew Dorey of Dublin.
Tours of the exhibit may be arranged for classes and other groups, and additional curator-led tours are available at 12 noon on the upcoming Fridays: March 10 and 31, April 7 and 21.
An exhibit lecture, “The Changing Face of Irish Writing” by Brian Ó Conchubhair (Associate Professor of Irish Language and Literature, University of Notre Dame), will be held this spring in Special Collections, at a date that will be announced later.
The March spotlight exhibits are Language and Materiality in Late Medieval England (February – April 2023) and “That Just Isn’t Fair; Settling for Left-Overs”: African American Women Activists and Athletes in 1970s Feminist Magazines (February – March 2023).
“Anybody here speak English? / Non dovete avere paura, non c’è ragione”: Dubbing as Translation and Rewriting in Spike Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna, by Santain Tavella
The Infernal Arno: Mapping the Arno in Dante’s Hell through the Lens of Purg. XIV, by Toby Hale
Tuesday, February 28 at 3:30pm | Exhibit Lecture: “The Changing Face of Irish Writing” by Brian Ó Conchubhair (Associate Professor of Irish Language and Literature, University of Notre Dame). This lecture has had to be rescheduled—a new date will be announced later.
The spring exhibit, Printing the Nation: A Century of Irish Book Arts, features selected books from the Hesburgh Libraries’ Special Collections that demonstrate the art and craft of the Irish book since 1900. The exhibit, curated by Aedín Ní Bhróithe Clements, will run through the semester.
The February spotlight exhibits are Language and Materiality in Late Medieval England (February – April 2023) and “That Just Isn’t Fair; Settling for Left-Overs”: African American Women Activists and Athletes in 1970s Feminist Magazines
(February – March 2023).
Rare Books and Special Collections will be closed from 11:30am to 2:00pm on Thursday, February 9, 2023.
It reeks to always walk with tense shoulders, shoved upwards A knife hidden under my tongue Rear wheel mirrors
— Karla Cristina Sobre el hombre y otros sistemas de colapso (La Impresora, 2020)
In this blog post, we showcase a collection of zines, chapbooks, and posters published by the independent, women-led Puerto Rican press La Impresora(“the printer,” in Spanish). This collection is one of the most recent acquisitions to augment Rare Books and Special Collections’ holdings of Hispanic Caribbean literature.
La Impresora is an experimental workshop headquartered in northwestern Puerto Rico. It is a small-scale risograph press, which combines the aesthetic and uniqueness of stencil and screen-printing with the expediency and convenience of digital copiers. Sincethe inception of risograph technology in 1940s Japan, this technology has allowed artists around the world to conveniently and inexpensively reproduce and disseminate their creations. In addition, La Impresora seeks to be more than just a printing press: as part of its vision, creators and artists are actively involved in the reproduction of their art in what the press’ founders call a book-making school, “a space to learn and share knowledge that is not formally taught in Puerto Rico, which is usually mediated or limited by the supply and demand of the publishing market.”
The selection currently held by Rare Books and Special Collections is composed of 62 items, a polyphonic kaleidoscope of form and lived experience. Much of this work captures—textually and visually—the lingering stasis that haunts a generation of Puerto Ricans. To differing degrees, the archipelago’s youth have experienced systems of limbo, collapse, and crisis. These predicaments arise from socio-natural disasters (and postponed recoveries), neocolonialism, corrupt and impotent local government, and crippling (largely illegal) public debt. The pieces created by this collective comment on and represent both the everyday and large-scale manifestations of the Puerto Rican crisis.
In addition to the pamphlet-sized zines and chapbooks, the collection includes a limited run of eight posters (11 x 17″) published by the collective, the majority of which were the result of a collaboration between the press and female Puerto Rican artists between 2019 and 2021.
Some of the posters are the result of historical processes in the history of gender rights and relations in Puerto Rico. In “HISTÉRICA,” illustrator Adriana García centers the gendered attribute of “hysterical” in a minimally-illustrated piece. Written in red letters across a drawing grid, she embraces the gendered epithet and proclaims, in smaller, black font, to hysterically await a moment in which women “can live peacefully.” In slightly larger uppercase letters, she echoes contemporary demands for gender-perspective school curricula, an ongoing debate since at least 2008, split along partisan lines in the archipelago.
Part of the 2019 art exhibition “Oda a nuestra sangre” (trans. “ode to our blood”) held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Lorraine Rodríguez’s print hopes to challenge societal taboos surrounding menstruation. In her piece, Rodríguez centers a minimally drawn menstrual cup, surrounded by blooming dandelions, a moon, and stars. In this landscape, menstruation is as natural as the blooms and celestial bodies that surround it. Moreover, the print seeks to desexualize and normalize female anatomy.
With the exception of Rodríguez’s piece (printed in 2019), the collection posters highlighted in this post were produced and distributed by La Impresora in 2021. This is far from a coincidence, as the year 2021 saw a record-breaking number of femicides and incidents of gender-based violence in Puerto Rico, averaging one a week. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reports that Puerto Rico has the highest per capita rate of femicides against women over 14 years of age. These statistics include high-profile cases such as the murder of Keishla Rodríguez by rising boxer Felix Verdejo. In a way, many of the artworks in this collection emerge from the 2021 protests that demanded the enactment of a state of emergency by Governor Pedro Pierluisi in response to gender-based violence. Initially set to expire in June 2022, this state of emergency was recently extended: to this date, 24 women have been murdered in Puerto Rico, three times the number of 2021.
Echoing these demands, photographer Nina Méndez Martí highlights the black-and-white photograph of a woman’s torso. Hands in the air, the words “ESTADO DE EMERGENCIA” (trans. “State of emergency”) are emblazoned across her chest and abdomen in bold, black, uppercase letters.
Lastly, Yvonne Santiago’s “Seguimos luchando,” depicts a woman drawn in purple lines, her right fist raised in the air. The color purple has a long and important history in feminist activism, from its association to women’s suffrage to Alice Walker’s famous analogy, “womanism is to feminism as purple is to lavender.” The woman depicted by Santiago has two tattoos: a pot (cacerola) with a cooking spoon on her tricep and a machete on her forearm. Both the cacerola and the machete are important symbols of resistance, especially in Puerto Rico.
The pot refers to the cacerolazo, a protest tradition which consists of banging pots cacophonously as a way of amplifying anger and dissatisfaction amid protests. In Puerto Rico, cacerolazos became a popular protest form during the Verano del 2019 protests, which called for the resignation of former governor Ricardo Rosselló.
The machete symbolizes pro-independence struggle and political nationalism on the island, most commonly associated with 20th-century armed pro-independence militancy, primarily with the Boricua Popular Army, known as Los Macheteros (trans. “Machete wielders”), and the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN). However, the machete, as a political symbol, dates to the original Revolutionary Anthem of Puerto Rico, written in 1868 by Lola Rodríguez de Tió. The hymn’s lyrics were deemed too controversial and revolutionary and were subsequently changed for a less political version in 1902.
Nosotros queremos la libertad Y nuestros machetes nos la dará
We want Freedom And freedom, our machetes will grant us
Yvonne Santiago’s piece chants its own hymn of subversion and defiance, lest we forget.
For the women in my life For the ones I have lost For the ones to come We will keep fighting
Elithet Silva-Martinez & Jenice Vazquez Pagán, “El abuso económico y la violencia de género en las relaciones de pareja en el contexto puertorriqueño,” Prospectiva, 28 (2019): https://doi.org/10.25100/prts.v0i28.7264
For St. Patrick’s Day, we feature The Breastplate of Saint Patrick, translated by Thomas Kinsella.
Thomas Kinsella, recently deceased, was one of Ireland’s most highly-regarded poets of recent times. In addition to his poetry, he translated many literary texts from Old Irish and Modern Irish to English. Prominent among these are his translation of the epic Táin Bó Cuailgne, and also his translated poems in An Duanaire: Poems of the Dispossessed. Liam Miller’s The Dolmen Press published many of Kinsella’s works, usually with the close collaboration of poet, printer and artist.
The 1954 edition of The Breastplate of Saint Patrick is decorated with designs by H. Neville Roberts, based on early Christian art. On the cover is a picture of the Shrine of the Bell of Saint Patrick, an ornate shrine made around 1100 to house the older relic, the Bell of Saint Patrick, which is held in the National Museum of Ireland. The image, and the designs within the book, are appropriate to the text, which is a hymn found in an eleventh-century manuscript, the Liber Hymnorum, thought to date to the eighth century.
A note in this Dolmen Press edition states that this text is from the manuscript in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin. This is one of twoLiber Hymnorummanuscripts. The other is part of the Franciscan Manuscripts collection at UCD Archives, also in Dublin. Both manuscripts have been digitized and images of the text may be viewed and studied online.
According to the introduction, Patrick composed the hymn to shield him and his monks from ‘deadly enemies who were ambushing the clerics.’
The manuscript introduction announces that the hymn is called ‘fáeth fiadha’. This is usually translated as the ‘deer’s cry’ and is the title given to a later Dolmen Press edition, also by Thomas Kinsella.
Our other Dolmen Press edition, published in 1961, is also a translation by Thomas Kinsella. There are textual variations, as can be seen from a comparison of the initial lines. ‘I arise today’ and ‘Today I put on’. The Old Irish caused more difficulty for earlier translators. George Petrie, who translated the text in the nineteenth century, decided the word ‘atomriug’ must have been two words, and that ‘tomriug’ was a form of ‘Tara’. Subsequent research in Old Irish language sources show that ‘atomruig’ may be translated as ‘I arise’.
We end with an image of the best-known part of the text. The prayer beginning with ‘Christ by me, Christ before me’ is sung in many variant arrangements. this is from the 1954 edition.
The semester-long Ulysses exhibition will be supplemented by a temporary ‘pop-up’ display of books and art. Visitors are welcome to come during any part of the afternoon. At 3:30, there will be a short talk titled “Joyce, Proust, Paris, 1922” by Professor Barry McCrea.
The spring exhibit The Word throughout Time: The Bible in the Middle Ages and Beyond is now open and will run through June. This exhibit, curated by David T. Gura (Curator of Ancient and Medieval Manuscripts), marks the 75th anniversary of the University of Notre Dame’s Medieval Institute. Tours are available for classes or other groups, including K-12 audiences, by request.
The current spotlight exhibits both feature materials relating to the centenary of James Joyce’s Ulysses: 100 Years of James Joyce’s Ulysses (January – April 2022) and David Lilburn’s Eccles Street Print (January – February 2022).
At Hesburgh Libraries, along with the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, we look forward to participating in the worldwide celebration on February 2nd of the one hundredth anniversary of James Joyce’s Ulysses.
The very first copies of the first edition of Ulysses were received from the printer on Joyce’s fortieth birthday, February 2nd, 1922. Sylvia Beach, the publisher, delivered a copy to James Joyce on that day.
Of the thousand copies printed in that first edition, almost one hundred are currently in U.S. libraries. Our copy will be on display in our exhibition room throughout the semester.
Parts of Joyce’s novel had earlier been published serially in America in The Little Review, a magazine edited by Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap. This came to the attention of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, and eventually the magazine had to cease publication of the novel and it was banned by the United States Post Office.
Joyce subsequently had difficulty finding a publisher, and Sylvia Beach, owner of Paris bookshop and lending library Shakespeare and Company, agreed to publish the book. Every detail along the way, from finding typists who would agree to type the text through distributing (sometimes smuggling) the book to readers, forms an interesting story. Much of the story is recounted in Noel Riley Fitch’s book, Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation (1983).
Another great champion of Joyce’s writing was publisher Harriet Weaver, whose Egoist Press in England published a number of his works. Her edition of Ulysses was also published in 1922 and our copy is on display.
Also in the display case is a magazine in which unauthorized episodes were published, alongside a printed copy of the protest, signed by 167 artists and writers, against this piracy.