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Call for proposals – Zar Symposium 2017

Open Data: Science, Health, Community
5th Biennial Kathleen A. Zar Symposium
April 28, 2017
The John Crerar Library
The University of Chicago

Web Page: https://www.lib.uchicago.edu/conferences/zar-symposium/
Email: zarsymposium@lib.uchicago.edu
#zarsymposium
@CrerarLibrary

Call for proposals

The organizers of the 5th biennial Kathleen A. Zar Symposium, Open Data: Science, Health, Community, to be held Friday, April 28, invite proposals for presentations that provide insight into open data projects and initiatives, whether established or newly created, which have an impact on science, health, or community.  The focus may be, but is not limited to, opportunities for libraries and information professionals to contribute to or play an active role in projects or initiatives.

The organizers are interested in presentations that provide examples of collaborative efforts between institutions, groups, or individuals, with a focus on practical, real use cases of using open data.  Proposals selected for full oral presentations will be eligible for travel stipend.

Proposals should be submitted online at: http://bit.do/zar2017. Proposals must include a title, author(s), and abstract (maximum 600 words).  Presentations will be 30-45 minutes. The deadline for submission is Wednesday, March 8th.

Please consider the following questions when preparing proposals:

* How has your institution or community engaged with open data?
* If you led an open data project or initiative, how and why was it initiated, and what were the results?
* What are the opportunities and challenges of using or collecting open data?
* How are responsibilities determined and distributed?
* What kinds of tools and techniques may be used?

The symposium organizers will also consider interactive alternatives to a traditional oral presentations.

The intended audience of the symposium includes all who are involved or interested in open data, with a focus on, but not limited to, academic institutions.

About the Symposium:

Open data is data that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed.   Some examples of open data resources include the Human Genome Project, the United Nations UNdata, and the City of Chicago data portal.  Open data can spur business innovation, help patients and families make better decisions about their health, or accelerate the pace of scientific discovery.  This symposium will provide participants with an understanding of what open data is, how it gets created and shared, and examples of how open data might contribute to progress in our communities.

For more information, contact the symposium organizers at: zarsymposium@lib.uchicago.edu

 

Help the Library improve services for College students: Take our survey

Complete our undergraduate survey by March 3The University of Chicago Library is conducting a survey of currently enrolled undergraduates. The survey explores many facets of students’ experience at the University, with specific focus on the ways the Library’s collections, services, spaces, and staff contribute to students’ higher education and career goals.

Previous surveys conducted by the Library resulted in the implementation of the Library’s Scan and Deliver service, as well as the creation of new group study spaces in Regenstein Library. Results gathered from the Library’s last survey of undergraduates, conducted in February 2011, are available online.

The survey was distributed by email on February 7. Undergraduates, please check your email for a message from the University of Chicago Library with your individualized link to the survey.

For more information or to report problems with the survey, please contact the project team by email at ithaka@lib.uchicago.edu.

Wright Fellowship for promising new academic law librarians

The D’Angelo Law Library at the University of Chicago is accepting applications through March 6 for the 2017 Judith M. Wright Fellowship.  Established on the occasion of Ms. Wright’s retirement as the director of the D’Angelo Law Library in 2013, the Fellowship recognizes her 40 years of service to the University of Chicago Law School and her legacy as a mentor to generations of law librarians.

Judith Wright

Judith Wright

The Wright Fellowship will develop promising new professionals in academic law librarianship by supporting a career training program at the D’Angelo Law Library. It provides $4,000 to a law school or library science student or recent graduate for a minimum of six consecutive weeks of temporary, full-time work to occur between June 12 and September 15, 2017.

The Fellowship is intended to give candidates interested in law librarianship as a career an opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge in an academic law library setting. Fellows will work in the D’Angelo Law Library under the guidance and supervision of the Law Library Director and other librarians and will learn about the overall functions, policies, and practices of the D’Angelo Law Library in both collection services and user services departments.

The primary focus of the Fellow’s work will be determined by the interests and prior experience of the Fellow and the needs of the D’Angelo Law Library. In addition to participating in the daily work of a premier academic law library, Fellows will undertake and complete a project based in the needs and capabilities of the D’Angelo Law Library.

The project for Summer 2017 will be one of the following:

  1. Support for Clinics. The University of Chicago Law School offers a number of clinical and experiential programs, in which students represent clients and engage in other lawyering roles under the supervision of full time clinical teachers, faculty, and practicing attorneys. The 2017 Wright Fellow will help develop methods and strategies to effectively promote library resources and services to clinical faculty, staff, and students, including creating online research guides, promotional materials, and other resources. The exact scope of the program will be determined by the Fellow and the designated Fellowship Coordinator. To undertake this project, the Fellow must have completed or be in the process of completing his/her J.D. degree, in addition to the other qualifications required by the Fellowship description.
  2. Digital Project on Law School Deans. Chicago Unbound, the University of Chicago Law School’s institutional repository, contains the scholarship of the Law School community, providing full-text access to decades of Chicago Law faculty scholarship and the archives of many Law School journals and publications. The 2017 Wright Fellow will help develop a new Chicago Unbound collection highlighting the scholarship and service of the Law School’s deans throughout its history. The Fellow will create a space for this historical collection in Chicago Unbound and complete materials for three to five former deans. Creating the new collection will involve reviewing and selecting materials (e.g. articles, speeches, manuscripts, photographs) as well as organizing and describing the selected materials in Chicago Unbound.
  3. Guide for Rare Book Collection. The D’Angelo Law Library has an impressive collection of rare and unique books both in dedicated special collections space and as part of other rich and extensive collections of U.S., foreign, and international law. Historically, these books have been acquired as part of the development of other collections, through individual purchases at the request of faculty or received as gifts. The 2017 Fellow will develop a descriptive guide for the Roman, civil, canon, and international law materials in the D’Angelo rare book collection, including the scope and strengths of the collection and a desiderata list in areas where these materials would be enhanced by future acquisitions. This project will build upon the work of the 2016 Wright Fellow who created a descriptive guide for Anglo-American titles in D’Angelo’s rare book collection.

For detailed information on eligibility, requirements, and how to apply, visit the Library website.

Hidden treasures: Law Library unearths original letter from Marshall to Washington—and more

On March 26, 1789, 22 days after the newly ratified US Constitution took effect, future Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall sent a letter to George Washington at his Mount Vernon estate, where the president-elect was waiting for Congress to count the votes of America’s first electors.

It was, in many ways, an unremarkable note from a Richmond lawyer to his powerful, land-owning client, merely the latest in an ongoing conversation regarding Washington’s disputed claim to a piece of land on the banks of the Ohio River. But it was also one founder writing to another: a constitutional defender who would help shape the nation’s legal system advising the man who would soon assemble the nation’s first cabinet, oversee the creation of a national government strong enough to navigate partisan debate, and suppress the Whiskey Rebellion—and whose property holdings in the Ohio River Valley were already helping push the burgeoning nation west.

It was history, living and breathing among the syllables of routine correspondence.

Which is why, when Sheri Lewis, the director of the University of Chicago’s D’Angelo Law Library, opened an unfamiliar hardbound volume from the library’s Rare Book Room last summer and glimpsed Marshall’s 227-year-old letter—the original—pasted carefully inside, her first thought was, “Oh—wow.”

What’s more, the handwritten missive wasn’t alone. The carefully constructed album that had protected it for nearly six decades, maybe more, bristled with 18th- and 19th-century Supreme Court history, mostly hand-drawn portraits and letters signed by early justices, men like John Jay, Oliver Ellsworth, Samuel Chase, Salmon P. Chase, and Oliver Wendell Holmes.

And for years nobody at the University of Chicago Law School knew it was there.

* * *

There had been clues: an old catalog entry in the D’Angelo’s records; a note in an online database maintained by the National Archives; a plaque on the library’s sixth floor honoring the album’s donor, albeit for a different generosity; and a couple of 1958 articles in back-to-back issues of the University of Chicago Law School Record. It had been the articles that ultimately led Lewis and her team to the well-preserved, but temporarily forgotten, collection in July.

“It took me awhile to really absorb how much is in here,” Lewis said one morning in early 2017, as the D’Angelo’s librarians were preparing to send the 154-page album to the central University of Chicago Library to be fully digitized. “Every piece of parchment in this book tells a story.”

It had been a busy several months since Lewis first saw the volume. In that time, she and her team created an inventory of the collection, examined it with a preservation librarian and Law School scholars, and worked to unravel the mysteries of the album, which had been given to the Law School in the late 1950s by a colorful Chicago hotelier, Louis H. Silver, ’28.

 

D'Angelo Law Library Director Sheri Lewis with Professor Alison LaCroix

D’Angelo Law Library Director Sheri Lewis with Professor Alison LaCroix

The discovery was thrilling and unexpected but, for librarians and scholars versed in archival research, it wasn’t a shock. Library science has evolved significantly since the late 1950s; back then, there were no digital inventories and few finding aids—new items were catalogued and added to the shelf. As a result, the Supreme Court collection was, in fact, never truly lost: it was well-preserved and findable to those who went looking—it’s just that, after a while, there was nobody at the Law School who would have known about it without looking. And that’s why the rediscovery wasn’t a shock. History, after all, is a decidedly human affair that takes on a slightly different shape for each generation, molded by a combination of perspective, whim, and fortuity. People discover, forget, and rediscover; they choose what to protect, display, study, and discuss—and all of this ultimately shapes the historical narrative, often leaving a trail of breadcrumbs along the way.

“As historians, we tell our stories and build our analyses based on the evidence we have,” said Alison LaCroix, the Robert Newton Reid Professor of Law and a legal historian who was among the first to examine the rediscovered collection. “There’s always this question of what has been preserved, and why it’s been preserved. Sometimes things that are ‘lost’ don’t stay lost, and when we find them, we have new evidence. But what’s interesting, and important to remember, is how much of it is chance.” It was the point, she noted with a laugh, of the final number in the musical Hamilton, “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story,” which centers on the twists of fate that ultimately shape one’s legacy.

“You think of history as being this thing that comes in nice, tidy boxes,” said William Baude, the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Law and a scholar of constitutional originalism who also has examined the collection. “But it doesn’t. There are things that we don’t know are out there—and things that we know are out there but don’t know we have.”

Before the Law School’s discovery, historians actually knew that Marshall had written to Washington on March 26, 1789; current-day researchers just didn’t know where the note was or what it said. Its entire public record was reflected in a short entry in the National Archives’ Founders Online database: “To George Washington from John Marshall, 26 March 1789 [Letter Not Found].” Other letters in the series had been catalogued as part of the Papers of George Washington at the University of Virginia and incorporated into Founders Online—including Washington’s April 5, 1789, reply to Marshall, which began, “Sir: I have duly received your letter of the 26 Ulto . . . ” (Note: Ulto is an abbreviation of the Latin ultimo mense, used in correspondence at that time to say “last month.”) Also included in the database: the March 17, 1789, letter from Washington that prompted Marshall’s March 26 reply.

Professor Alison LaCroix

“I think for me part of the excitement is that nobody knew what this March 26 letter said, and now we do,” said LaCroix, an expert in early American history. “But also, like most historians, I have a fascination with holding the real things. I was almost fearful in a way when Sheri brought it to my office and let me keep it for a day or two. I thought, Can I really have this? It’s unique, it’s the only one, it’s its own thing.”

The album, bound in blue goatskin with gold tooling, is filled with strokes of history, each with the potential to shade the narrative in some small way or even deepen our understanding of modern America. There are 60 drawings and 5 photographs of Supreme Court justices, various banking and legal documents, and 75 letters, including the one by Marshall and one in which future Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase speculates that Abraham Lincoln will win the upcoming 1860 election.

“In these manuscripts, we hear the voices of the country’s greatest jurists, recorded in their own hand, along with portraits that put faces to the authors,” said Bill Schwesig, the D’Angelo’s Anglo-American and Historical Collections Librarian. “The great effort and expense that Mr. Silver put into building the collection resulted in a beautiful and engaging artifact.”

The written documents, which appear to be expertly affixed to preservation-quality pages, are arranged not by the order in which they were produced, but by the order in which the writer or signer served on the Supreme Court—starting with a 1783 letter written by the first chief justice, John Jay, and ending with a 1917 letter by Oliver Wendell Holmes. In between, the book holds a 1797 bank draft signed by the Supreme Court’s third chief justice, Oliver Ellsworth; an 1844 letter from Justice Peter Vivian Daniel to President John Tyler; and an 1823 note from Supreme Court Justice William Johnson to David Hosack, the physician who nearly two decades earlier had attended to Alexander Hamilton after his fatal duel with Aaron Burr. One of the oldest documents is a 1762 writ from King George III summoning a man named William Keating to court in Charleston, South Carolina; it was signed by the state’s provost marshal, John Rutledge, who more than 30 years later would serve—briefly—as the US Supreme Court’s second chief justice.

“When we first started looking for the collection this summer, we knew it was important,” Lewis said. “But, until we saw it, we didn’t have any sense of the breadth of it. This collection is unusual, and it is something nobody else has. And the fact that it was given to us by an alum is significant.”

Louis Silver, who had been an engineer before attending the Law School, was known as lively, astute, and discriminating. His personal collection of rare books—some 800 of which were purchased by the Newberry Library for a record $2.75 million after his death in 1963—was considered among the most impressive in the world. Even before the rediscovery, D’Angelo librarians knew of Silver: the Rare Book Room was named for himPhotos of selected portions of the Rare Books Collection at the D'Angelo Law Library. decades ago, when it first occupied a space on the Law School’s second floor. Silver had been generous to the University of Chicago, and although nobody knows why he donated the Supreme Court collection—or where it and its individual pieces had been in earlier years—librarians have speculated that he may have acquired, or even assembled, it expressly because he wanted the Law School to have it. At any rate, when the D’Angelo’s rare books collection moved in 2008 to the two glass-enclosed rooms on the sixth floor, Silver’s name went with it.

Quietly, so did the US Supreme Court Portraits and Letters collection, which ended up on a shelf in the western chamber, just feet from the plaque.

And there it slept until Lewis launched a research project this summer as a first step in rediscovering the rare books collection, which she and her team hope to strengthen and expand. That research turned up the 1958 Record articles, which referenced a “rare and important” collection that nobody in the 2016 law library had ever seen. One story contained the reprinted text of the Marshall letter, and the other included the text of the Chase letter.

“We didn’t even know it was assembled as a book—I first thought that the portraits and letters must have been displayed at some point in the Law School,” Lewis said. But she couldn’t find anything. She called retired D’Angelo Director Judith M. Wright; she, too, was stumped.

Finally, a member of the library’s staff found a promising entry in the library catalog. It was simple but accurate: “United States Supreme Court; portraits and autographs [collected by Louis H. Silver].” The call number led them to a shelf in the western chamber of the sixth-floor Rare Book Room.

And just like that, John Marshall’s words were back.

* * *

George Washington, Esquire
Mount Vernon

Richmond March 26th 89

Sir:

I had the honor to receive a letter from you enclosing a protested bill of exchange drawn by the executors of William Armstead esquire. I shall observe your orders, sir, with respect to the collection of the money. I shall only institute a suit when I find other measures fail. I presume Mr. Armstead’s executors had notice of the protest. If they had, you will please to furnish me with some proof of the fact or inform me how I shall obtain it. Should a suit be necessary this fact will be very material.

Your caveat against Cresap’s heirs is no longer depending. It was dismissed last spring under the law which directs a dismission if the summons be not served.

I wrote to you on this subject before that session of the court and supposed it to be your wish that it should no longer be continued.

I remain Sir
With perfect respect and attachment
Your obedt servt

                     (signed) John Marshall

“Just looking at this, we can assume that this is Washington’s copy,” LaCroix said one afternoon in December, as she and Lewis were looking through the collection with a visitor. “You can see that it has been folded and postmarked—and it’s stamped, ‘FREE,’ so Marshall must have had franking privileges because he was a government official.” (Franking privilege, which dates to 1775, allows public officials to send mail without a postage stamp. Marshall was the Richmond city recorder—and therefore a magistrate—as of 1785, and that may well have been the office that gave him free postage in 1789.)

Someone would have copied the letter for Marshall’s files, LaCroix said, which means that at some point there was a second version that hadn’t traveled the 95 or so miles between Richmond and Mount Vernon. “But this one,” she said, “is addressed to ‘George Washington, Esquire, Mount Vernon.’” She paused. “Because, really, what else would you have needed to write? This must have been his.”

To a historian’s eye, the letter is filled with little insights, reminders, and curiosities: from the role of the founders in westward expansion to the quirks of letter writing; Marshall, for instance, used 11 words to sign off, but abbreviated the last two: obedient servant.

It was a little detail, but one that had a humanizing effect. It was hard not to wonder what Marshall had been thinking and feeling as he wrote the letter, or to consider the swirl of activity that must have surrounded Washington as he read it. There was something fascinating, LaCroix mused, about touching what they’d touched, and seeing the curves of their handwriting, and reading the words they’d chosen.

“It’s a little window into the founding,” LaCroix said. “It’s a slice of life. Marshall and Washington are writing to each other as lawyer and client, and that’s a relationship that had been going on for a long time, too.”

It was a time of transition for the young nation: the US Congress had met for the first time on March 4, and they were on the verge of certifying Washington’s victory in the first presidential election. “He was reluctant to become president,” LaCroix said. “He’d been away from Mount Vernon for so long, and he wanted to be back there and be the gentleman soldier in retirement.” But Washington felt a sense of duty, and on April 16, he’d begin a weeklong procession to New York City, the nation’s capital, for his swearing-in on April 30.

“He was getting ready to process to be the chief magistrate of this unknown experiment,” LaCroix said. “It’s pretty cool to think about.”

Marshall was a force in his own right. He’d been a leading champion of the Constitution as a delegate to Virginia’s ratifying convention, and he’d fought especially hard for Article III, which provides for the federal judiciary. (Years later, in 1803, the first major case before Marshall’s Supreme Court would be Marbury v. Madison, which established judicial review.) But now, he was practicing law in Richmond—and trying to help Washington settle a dispute over hundreds of acres of land in the Ohio River Valley, property Washington had claimed in 1770 and had most likely earned for his service in the area during the French and Indian War.

It was a typical frontier dispute: another man built houses on Washington’s land in 1773, and now, years later, Washington was still sorting things out with the man’s heirs. (According to research that accompanies the Founders Online entry, it appears that the dispute wasn’t fully settled until 1834, when a court upheld the title in favor of a man who had purchased the land from Washington in 1798.)

What’s intriguing to LaCroix about the timeline, though, is that it began in British America and was eventually settled in the United States—an important reminder about the continuity of law.

“You look at this and you remember: it wasn’t that Americans invented law on March 4, 1789,” LaCroix said. “They already had British common law, and they had disputes that had been going on under the British Empire.”

It is impossible to know, of course, whether Louis Silver shared this fascination or even envisioned contemporary and future scholars probing these sorts of details when he donated the album sometime during or just before 1958. His intentions are one of the collection’s enduring mysteries.

“He was this extremely well-known collector of his time, but law wasn’t his major area of focus,” Lewis said. “And yet, he did collect this. He intentionally gave it to the Law School, even though much of the rest of his collection went elsewhere. To me, it suggests that he thought it was important that the Law School have this.”

Sign outside in the Louis H. Silver Special Collections Room in the D'Angelo Law LibrarySilver made the gift while he was still living—and he made it at a time when Americans’ interest in the Supreme Court was particularly high: Earl Warren was the chief justice and, just a few years earlier, the Court had ruled in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education. (Incidentally, Silver’s album arrived just a year or two before the Law School moved from Stuart Hall to the current building south of Midway. It is possible that the flurry of activity accompanying the move contributed to the album’s recession from collective memory, though Lewis notes that the library’s comparatively small staff—directed by a member of the faculty in those days—and its predigital cataloguing system probably played roles as well.) Either way, both the timing and topic were curious. Silver’s interests were broad: in 1958 and 1959, he’d donated science and technology books to the University of Chicago, and the collection acquired by the Newberry Library included valuable works in English and Continental literature and history. But there isn’t much indication that law was a top priority beyond the Supreme Court collection.

“Collectors collect things for different reasons, and—I don’t know—but you can imagine Mr. Silver thinking, I’m a lawyer and I’m really interested in Supreme Court justices, so let’s get all the documents we can pertaining to them.” LaCroix said. “But that could take so many different forms. He could have just been after the autographs. One of the letters, Roger Taney’s, is responding to someone who wrote [in September 1860] asking for his autograph. And Taney just sent it back with a note.”

LaCroix shook her head: “Of all the ones you’d want.” (Three years before sending the autograph, Taney had delivered the majority opinion in the landmark Dred Scott case, which held that black people, whether free or slave, could not claim US citizenship.)

But the Taney letter underscored another important point: motive aside, someone had collected these letters, portraits, and documents; and had taken care to preserve them regardless of writer or content; and had assembled them into one book, ensuring that, to some extent, they would be studied and considered together.

“This is the happenstance, and good fortune, of someone choosing to collect and preserve, and choosing to do it in a certain way,” LaCroix said.

This album, for instance, connected each writer to the Court, but also, at least in some cases, offered insight into other parts of their lives. LaCroix turned the pages until she found the 1762 summons that had been signed by John Rutledge.

“See here, in 1762, this is Rutledge as the provost marshal of South Carolina—it’s a future Supreme Court justice as a judicial official in the British Empire, carrying out writs signed by George III,” LaCroix said. “This, too, is a continuity we often don’t think about.”

Similarly, the album’s portraits captured some of the men as younger, or otherwise different, than the images we most often see. In the Marshall letter, Washington was a man eager to keep the land he’d claimed on the western frontier and Marshall was a practicing lawyer whose time on the Supreme Court was still a dozen years away.

“Sometimes the value in letters like these is that they tell us something we didn’t already know . . . but other times the value is that they make [the writers] real,” Baude said. “The artifacts bring them to life, and they’re more than abstractions in the computer. Seeing an original letter, you remember, too, that the writer actually had to sit down and write, and that the letter had to travel—and you remember how little they knew about what was going on [outside their geographic area]. You get a better emotional sense for how big the world is.”

What’s more, reading about pivotal events through the wizened eyes of hindsight, he pointed out, can offer up powerful reminders and even a lesson or two.

* * *

In 1860, Salmon P. Chase, the Ohio governor and a candidate for US Senate, wrote to a man named E. A. Stansbury about the upcoming presidential election. It had been a turbulent election cycle marked by deep divisions over slavery, a geographically fractured Democratic Party, and a contentious four-way race involving Abraham Lincoln, John C. Breckinridge (a cousin, incidentally, of the Law School’s first female graduate, Sophonisba Breckinridge, 1904), Stephen A. Douglas, and John Bell.

Chase, who would later become the Supreme Court’s sixth chief justice and whose face would appear on the now-defunct $10,000 bill, was an abolitionist lawyer who had represented runaway slaves. He seemed to favor Lincoln and speculated that the Illinois Republican would win—and that his election might bring an end to slavery in America.

But Chase couldn’t help but wonder: what comes next?

My dear friend,

Nothing in the future is even tolerably clear to me except the probability, approaching certainty, that Mr. Lincoln will be our next President, and that by his election the power of slavery in our country will be broken. What lies beyond I see not. I hope the Administration will be Republican, and that faithful Republicans will be called into the Cabinet, and that all will be well. To that end I shall honestly, sincerely and earnestly labor. I do not know Mr. Lincoln personally. All I hear of him inspires confidence in his ability, honesty and magnanimity. These qualities justify the best hopes, but we must remember that he has not been educated in our school, and may not adopt our ideas, therefore, either in selection of men or in the shaping of measures.

Faithfully your friend,

S.P. Chase      

Any apprehension Chase might have felt was well placed, of course. The coming years would bring the secession of 11 southern states, a devastating civil war that would leave hundreds of thousands of dead, and Lincoln’s assassination. But the future would also bring the end of slavery, a fitful reconstruction, and an eventual return to national unity.

“We think of ourselves as confronting all these new circumstances, and we think, ‘Who knows what’s going to happen?’ But they felt that way in 1860, too,” Baude said. “We see that, in some ways, our problems aren’t as new as we think they are. In a way, we’ve been here before.”

All of this—the perspective, the opportunities to connect with founders and shapers of law, the chance to see the evolution of America and its legal system through the words of those who were there—have underscored the very mission that led Lewis and her team to the US Supreme Court Portraits and Letters collection in the first place.

“We were focused on advancing the rare books collection when we found this and, now, it’s a nice reminder of the value that this material brings to the Law School,” Lewis said. “We are looking for ways to continue making rare books more accessible to faculty, and to strengthen and build our offerings.”

Part of that means continuing to explore the existing rare books collection, which includes more than 2,800 items.

“After this,” Lewis said, “I can’t help but wonder what else we’ll find.”

Win a Brooker Prize for Undergraduate Book Collecting

Second- and fourth-year College students at the University of Chicago with a theme-focused book collection are invited to apply for the T. Kimball Brooker Prize for Undergraduate Book Collecting.   The University of Chicago Library is pleased to sponsor this prize, which was established by Mr. Brooker, PhD’96, to foster a love of the book and to encourage book collecting among undergraduates.

A book from Mox Schults’s 2014 Brooker Prize-winning collection

A book from Mox Schults’s 2014 Brooker Prize-winning collection, A Library for Babel(ing): Books for Reading Aloud.

Prizes include $1,000 for a second-year student and $2,000 for a fourth-year student.

Applications and instructions for how to apply are available on the Library website. Evaluation of applications is based on the care and judgment by which the student has shaped the collection. Collections may encompass a specific subject matter or the work of a particular author, or they may relate to special interests within a field. Bibliographical and physical features such as editions, illustrations, or bindings may also be the basis upon which a collection is developed. Whatever its defining quality may be, the organizing principle should be apparent in every item of the collection.

Past winners have collections focusing on subjects ranging from Homer and His Students to The History of Mathematics to Zines, Punk Rock, and Empowerment.

Applications are due on Wednesday, March 1, 2017.  Learn more about the Prize and how to apply at www.lib.uchicago.edu/brooker .

Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic and Medicine

Illustration of an alchemy workshopJanuary 23 – March 4, 2017
Location: Crerar Library First Floor

The magic in J. K. Rowling’s series of Harry Potter novels is partially based on Renaissance traditions that played an important role in the development of Western science, including alchemy, astrology, and natural philosophy.  This traveling exhibit, Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine explores the intersection of these worlds, featuring highlights from the collections of the History of Medicine Division at the National Library of Medicine.

Related Event: Lecture and Reception

February 22, 2017
4:00-5:30pm
Crerar Library – Zar Room
In celebration of Crerar Library’s exhibit Harry Potter’s World, Professor Ada Palmer will offer an overview of ideas about science and magic in 16th century Europe and give a show and tell of rare books from the period.
Reception to follow.
RSVP: 773-702-7569

Persons with disabilities who need an accommodation in order to participate in this event should contact Barbara Kern at 773-702-8717 for assistance.

Watch Dr. Mindy Schwartz describe an 1887 surgical kit in Special Collections

Dr. Mindy A. Schwartz, Professor of Medicine and Associate Program Director for Internal Medicine at the University of Chicago, went live on Facebook to talk about a surgical kit in the Special Collections Research Center. The kit, once owned by Dr. Thomas Burrows in 1887, is one of Dr. Schwartz’s favorite items to use when she teaches classes on the history of medicine.

Stay tuned for more videos of UChicago faculty discussing their favorite items in the Special Collections Research Center.

Dr. Mindy Schwartz discusses one of her favorite objects in Special Collections: an 1887 surgical kit.

Posted by University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center on Friday, January 20, 2017

Visible Body now available

Visible Body image of skull

Visible Body is a suite of 5 anatomy applications with interactive 3D models and animations:

  • Human Anatomy Atlas
  • Muscle Premium
  • Skeleton Premium
  • Heart & Circulatory Premium
  • Physiology Animations

It is available online and via mobile apps for iOS and Android devices.  App download instructions are here: http://guides.lib.uchicago.edu/medicine/mobile

 

Concrete Poetry, Concrete Book

Exhibition: Concrete Poetry, Concrete Book: Artists’ Books in German-speaking Space after 1945
Dates
: January 17 – March 17, 2017
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Die Schastrommel

“Die Schastrommel” no. 9. Bolzano: Österreichische Exilregierung. 1973. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Following the Second World War and with increasing intensity in the 1960s and 1970s, artists working throughout Western Europe explored new media and techniques, engaging in participatory and performative practices that tested the limits of language, representation, and action. Across Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and beyond, friendships formed amongst artists concerned with generating new avenues of access to their artistic aims, often realized in the form of public group events, as well as collaborative publications like art journals, inexpensive multiples, and artists’ books, all of which could be widely circulated and enjoyed independently of fine art institutions.

Drawing on the remarkable collection of rare artists’ books housed in the University of Chicago Library, Concrete Poetry, Concrete Book considers how the artist’s book emerged as a significant preoccupation in this milieu. The exhibition establishes links between artists affiliated with the reduced forms and focused design quality of concrete poetry and artists whose unruly, often messy materials and actions defined performance art. For all of these artists, books afforded sites for experimentation with visual and tactile experience, and the activity of “reading.”

Jörg Immendorff (1945-2007). "Hier und jetzt." Köln: König, 1973. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Jörg Immendorff (1945-2007). “Hier und jetzt.” Köln: König, 1973. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Referring to the way that language takes up space on the page, arrests the eyes, and requires perceptual interaction, works of concrete poetry test the graphical display of language, focusing on the material quality of letters and words. Concrete poetry often required that books take on unusual forms, such as the sequential unbound pages of Gerhard Rühm’s bewegung (1964) and Hansjörg Mayer’s fold-out book typoaktionen (1967), which reinvents the alphabet for tactile encounter. Artists’ books activate the process of reading, inviting the reader to play with and participate in how language and form produce meaning, as in André Thomkins’ “polyglot machine” Dogmat Mot (1965).

At the same time, artists’ books tend to deemphasize reading as a technique for understanding, foregrounding instead tactility, physicality, and materiality, as exemplified in the die-cut multi-colored laminate pages of Dieter Roth’s Bilderbuch (1957/1976). Indeed, Wolf Vostell’s 20-pound Betonbuch (1971), which encases in actual concrete his own book of sardonic proposals “to concretify” cities, furniture, and even clouds, may be read as a definitive if not paradoxical example of an artist’s book: unreadable in any conventional sense, it provokes and at the same time frustrates interaction.

Austrian Cultural Forum New York, Swiss Benevolent Society of Chicago and UChicago Arts logos

In tandem with the year-long UChicago Arts Program Concrete Happenings devoted to Vostell, this exhibition aims to showcase artists’ books that intersect with and depart from the ambitions of concrete poetry and Fluxus.

Presented by the University of Chicago Library, with additional support generously provided by the Austrian Cultural Forum New York, Swiss Benevolent Society of Chicago, UChicago Arts, and individual donors.

Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., and, when University of Chicago classes are in session, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.

Related Events

Concrete Poetry, Concrete Book: Artists’ Books in German-speaking Space after 1945 is part of Concrete Happenings at the University of Chicago, a collaborative series of public exhibitions, screenings, symposia, and other programs that mark the return of Wolf Vostell’s colossal Concrete Traffic (1970) to public view following a major conservation effort. Concurrent exhibitions at the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society and Smart Museum of Art delve into other aspects of the Fluxus movement and Vostell’s work.  Among the programs on offer are Reading Fluxus Films and a two-part Concrete Poetry Workshop. Learn more about all of these projects at arts.uchicago.edu/concretehappenings.

First Week Events at the Library

Library Society Winter Reception for Concrete Poetry, Concrete Book

Thursday, January 19, 2017, 5 p.m. exhibit viewing, 5:45 p.m. lecture and soundscape, 6:45 p.m. reception
The Joseph Regenstein Library (1100 E. 57th Street, Room 122)

Join the University of Chicago Library Society to celebrate the Special Collections Research Center exhibition Concrete Poetry, Concrete Book: Artists’ Books in German-speaking Space after 1945. Following an exhibition viewing, Christine Mehring, Chair and Professor of the Department of Art History, will present a lecture on highlights of the exhibition. A “Soundscape” inspired by select scores from items in the exhibition will be performed in collaboration with the Department of Music. A wine and cheese reception will follow the lecture and performance.

Free, but space is limited. Registration is required in advance at http://bit.ly/2gyeaEE. Free valet parking will be available in front of the Regenstein Library as of 4:30pm.

Presented by the University of Chicago Library Society.

Instructions for a Chicago Fluxus Opening

Sunday, January 22, 2017, 3–6 p.m.
Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society (5701 South Woodlawn Avenue), Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library (1100 East 57th Street), and Smart Museum of Art (5550 South Greenwood Avenue)

A set of “instructions”—inspired by participatory Happenings orchestrated by Fluxus artist Wolf Vostell—will guide you across the University of Chicago campus during this opening celebration for three related exhibitions: Fantastic Architecture (Neubauer Collegium), Concrete Poetry, Concrete Book (Special Collections Research Center), and Vostell Concrete (Smart Museum). Enjoy a variety of free programs, food, and drinks at the three locations. A free shuttle will run between locations, but please bring your own thermometer.

Free, open to all.

Presented by the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, Special Collections Research Center at the University of Chicago Library, and Smart Museum of Art.

Use of Images and Media Contact

Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for download by members of the media and are reserved for editorial use in connection with University of Chicago Library exhibitions, programs, or related news.

For more information, contact Rachel Rosenberg at ra-rosenberg@uchicago.edu or 773-834-1519.

Take a virtual tour of Regenstein Library

Regenstein Library is a memorable part of the University of Chicago experience. Affectionately referred to as “the Reg,” the University’s largest library is a hub for students, faculty, and staff. The Library invites you to learn more about this unique building in a virtual tour.

The Reg’s brutalist architecture distinguishes it from the Gothic spires of the University’s first buildings. But don’t let the grey limestone exterior fool you; inside the Reg is a dynamic mixed-use space with a collaborative, open study floor; massive, quiet bookstacks; and innovative technology studios.

In the virtual tour, you can visit the Library and explore spaces such as the Special Collections Research Center and the newly redesigned A Level, as well as the Mansueto Library, which is connected to Regenstein by a glass bridge. The video also shows users how to find and borrow a book, get software and research assistance, and reserve a group study room.

If you have any questions about the Library, its services, or its spaces please Ask a Librarian.