Exhibits

Art in the Stacks: Selections from Special Collections

Exhibition Dates: June 19–September 8, 2017
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Installation view: In the foreground: Edouard Benedictus’s “Nouvelles variations, soixante-quinze motifs décoratifs en vingt planches,” 1925. In the background: Henri Matisse’s “Jazz,” 1947. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

The Special Collections Research Center is known for being the University of Chicago Library’s center for rare books, manuscripts, and university archives. Nestled within these materials, there is a lesser known aspect of our collections—art. Art in the Stacks highlights these holdings with a selection of original paintings, drawings, and sculptures, in addition to artists’ books and other works on paper produced in the 20th and early 21st centuries.

Stephen Longstreet’s collages

Installation view of Stephen Longstreet’s collages. Stephen Longstreet Collection. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Among the featured items are Picasso etchings, selections from Matisse’s Jazz book, pen and ink drawings by  Harold Haydon(PhB’30, AM’31), Professor Emeritus in Art, University of Chicago, and a bronze sculpture by Ruth Vollmer.

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.

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.

Tensions in Renaissance Cities

Exhibition dates: March 27 – June 9, 2017
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Cicero. Philosophical treatises

Cicero. Philosophical treatises, ca. 1400. Ms. 956. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Venice, Florence, Rome, Mexico City, Geneva, London: the rapidly transforming cities of the Renaissance used art and literature to express their growing power, and growing pains. In the centuries of recovery after the Black Death, wealth, trade, and technology accelerated exponentially. Urban centers existed in a web of interdependence, in which the borders of fluctuating kingdoms were overlaid by geographies of mercantile connections, and information networks whose influence exploded with the arrival of the printing press. This new invention let news of new discoveries or disasters sweep through Europe in weeks, rather than years.

Moving geographically, this exhibit charts the interconnected tensions of great capitals from Venice to Mexico City. As Venice looked both eastward towards Islamic cultures of the Mediterranean and inward toward the microcosmic tensions of diversifying populations, Mexico City grappled with cultural and religious clashes between native Mesoamerican and imported European traditions. Florence and Rome looked backward toward the golden dream of antiquity and upward into a celestial geography. Magic, science, humanism and theology each played a role in filling in the blanks in current knowledge of the world and the universe. Concurrently, Geneva saw conflict in shifts from Latin to the vernacular and changing Calvinist and Catholic devotional practices, and London sought to establish itself as a major intellectual center that was both in dialogue with and distinct from continental centers.

Arch of Titus

“Arch of Titus.” Etching and engraving. Cavalieri, Giovanni Battista de’ Dosio, Giovanni Antonio, engraver [1569]. From the Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

The treasures presented in this exhibit from the Special Collections Research Center and Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago offer a look into the Renaissance not as a single, coherent cultural movement, but rather a set of many simultaneous and often contradictory developments across scholarship, politics, and religion. Many of the cultural, political, and religious tensions experienced during this period are just as relevant today. In an effort to create a neat narrative, the history of a period can be cleaned up too much. By examining the nuances and complexities of the early modern past, this exhibition hopes to shed light on just how messy history can be in both the past and the present.

Curators:  Ada Palmer, Assistant Professor, Department of History and the College, The University of Chicago; Hilary Barker, PhD student, Department of Art History, The University of Chicago; Margo Weitzman, MAPH’15, The University of Chicago

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

Curator’s Open House for the Renaissance Society of America Conference

March 29, 2017, 12 noon – 5 p.m.
Special Collections Research Center, Regenstein Library, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago

Curators Ada Palmer, Hilary Barker, and Margo Weitzman will be on hand to discuss and give tours of the exhibition Tensions in Renaissance Cities.

Free and open to the public.  Those attending the Renaissance Society of America Conference can sign up for transportation on the conference events page.

Library Society Lecture and Exhibition Viewing

May 10, 2017 – 5 p.m.
Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery and Room 122, Regenstein Library, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago

Lecture by Ada Palmer, Assistant Professor, Department of History and the College, The University of Chicago

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.

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.

Alma and Donald Lach’s legacies continue in Special Collections

Alma Lach Test Kitchen

Alma Lach, photograph, ca.1980, Alma Lach Papers, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

The late Alma S. (1914-2013) and Donald F. Lach (1917-2000) were a notable Hyde Park–University of Chicago team. The couple hosted countless dinner parties, beautifully prepared by Alma, EX’38, a great chef, author, and food consultant of her time, and their home was often a gathering place for the esteemed Professor Donald Lach’s students of history.

As a culinary arts leader and a groundbreaking historian, Alma and Donald reached worldwide audiences. Thanks to the generosity of their daughter Sandra Lach Arlinghaus and her husband William C. Arlinghaus, the legacies of both Donald and Alma continue to benefit UChicago’s students and faculty, as well as scholars around the globe. The Special Collections Research Center at the University of Chicago Library has been the proud home of the Donald F. Lach Papers since 1995 and recently received the Alma Lach Papers and Alma Lach Culinary Library from Sandra and William.

Hows and Whys of French Cooking

Alma Lach. Hows and Whys of French Cooking. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974. Alma Lach Culinary Library, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Alma Lach’s Kitchen: Transforming Taste, the current Special Collections Research Center exhibition, displays items from Alma’s rich archive through January 6, 2017.  Alma blazed a path for herself in the culinary world. One of the first Americans to graduate from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, she earned her Grand Diplôme in 1956. Upon her return to Chicago, Alma secured a position at the Chicago Sun-Times as the Food Editor, writing a weekly column on gourmet cookery until 1965. In 1955 she hosted a public television show for children, Let’s Cook. This was one of the earliest cooking shows of any kind on TV, and Alma was one of the earliest chefs to appear before the camera for a regularly broadcasted show. In 1965 Alma launched her own cooking school and was a very popular teacher; she also served as a food consultant for airlines and food companies, such as Lettuce Entertain You, and invented the Curly Dog Cutting Board. Perhaps most notably, in 1974, Alma wrote Hows and Whys of French Cooking (originally published as Cooking à la Cordon Bleu), a best seller that incorporated her knowledge of French cooking and cuisine.

Curly-Dog Cutting Board

Curly-Dog Cutting Board label, Alma Lach Papers, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Alma emerged as an important figure in the transformation of American cuisine in the latter half of the 20th century, moving American palates and kitchens away from basic, conventional cooking  to embrace new flavors, combinations, ingredients, and techniques not only from France but from around the world. She was intrigued by international cuisines as well as the accompanying social aspects. Her culinary book collection contains volumes about ethnic cuisines, including Hungarian, Chinese, Italian, Mexican, Hispanic, and Indian. Some of these cookbooks, as well as selections from her papers, are on display in the exhibition.

Sandra Arlinghaus considers the Special Collections Research Center an excellent home for the Alma Lach Papers and Alma Lach Culinary Library for several reasons. “Mom’s entire culinary career was centered in Hyde Park!” she wrote. “Of equal importance was the fact that my father’s collection was already well-cared for at the University of Chicago Library. It was nice to think that my parents could continue to be together, in perpetuity, at the site where they first met (as students living in International House) and lived most of their adult lives.”

A Child's First Cook Book.

Alma Lach. A Child’s First Cook Book. New York: Hart Publishing Co., 1950. Alma Lach Culinary Library, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Donald F. Lach, PhD’41, was professor of History at the University of Chicago from 1948 to 1988. His scholarship focused on the influence Asia had on the history and development of Europe between the 16th and 18th centuries. The extensive materials found in the Donald F. Lach Papers have been processed into a consolidated collection, and an online finding aid, an indispensable tool for accessing this important resource, has been created.

The Library is raising funds so that Alma’s culinary book collection and papers can be catalogued, processed, and preserved, and, therefore, can become discoverable by all. Both Lach collections are prime examples of archives that warrant care and discovery. Together and separately, the Lachs helped shape their disciplines. With the acquisition and processing of both the Lachs’ archives, Donald and Alma can continue to influence others.

For information about ways to support the Alma Lach Papers and Alma Lach Culinary Library, please contact Yasmin Omer, Director of Development, at 773-834-3744 or at yasminomer@uchicago.edu.

Alma Lach’s Kitchen: Transforming Taste

Exhibition Dates: September 19, 2016 – January 6, 2017
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Hows and Whys of French Cooking

Alma Lach. Hows and Whys of French Cooking. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974. Alma Lach Culinary Library, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

In the pioneering culinary era of the mid-twentieth century, Chicago chef Alma Lach was one of the primary figures who transformed traditional American cooking. As a chef, cookbook author, and food consultant, Alma was widely known for her bestselling book, Cooking à la Cordon Bleu (1970), later revised and published by the University of Chicago Press as Hows and Whys of French Cooking (1974). A graduate of the Cordon Bleu school in Paris (Grand Diplôme, 1956), she was also a member of the Chevalier du Tastevin and Les Dames d’Escoffier. She authored cookbooks for children, co-hosted a cooking show on public television, developed menus for travel and corporate clients, and invented kitchen tools such as the Curly Dog Cutting Board.

Lach also collected more than 3,000 cookbooks reflecting her broad range of interests in food preparation and dining, from classic French and Chinese cuisine to cookbooks popularizing the foods of American ethnic groups and recipe books produced by churches and volunteer groups. This exhibition will explore Alma Lach’s wide-ranging culinary career and display selections from her fascinating collection of cookbooks.

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.

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.

Alma Lach Test Kitchen

Alma Lach, photograph, ca.1980, Alma Lach Papers, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

 

Cyrus Leroy Baldridge: Illustrator, Explorer, Activist

Exhibition Dates: June 27 – September 9, 2016
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Self-portrait of Cyrus Leroy Baldridge

Cyrus Leroy Baldridge (1889-1977). Untitled self-portrait. 1940. From the collection of Mrs. & Mr. Jay Mulberry.

Cyrus Baldridge (1889-1977) was an artist, illustrator, and author whose travels took him across Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Far East.  His artistic training began at age 9, followed by education at the University of Chicago. Baldridge also developed an acute social and political awareness through a range of experiences, from working in a social settlement house to cattle ranching in Texas.

He began his career as a frontline artist during World War I, where he worked for several newspapers reporting on life in the trenches. Later he journeyed across continents with his partner, author Caroline Singer, sketching and painting the scenes that would later be published in lavishly illustrated books focusing on world cultures and peoples.

As an alumnus (PhB 1911), Baldridge presented a number of his artworks to the University of Chicago, where they are now part of the collection of the University’s Smart Museum of Art. Archival materials on Baldridge’s student days are preserved in the Special Collections Research Center. An important collection of Baldridge art, books, and documents is also held by University alumnus Jay Mulberry, who is loaning many items for the exhibition.  Drawing on these collections, Cyrus Leroy Baldridge:  Illustrator, Explorer, Activist will explore the full range of Baldridge’s life and art, showcasing many of his illustrations for the first time.

Curators: Alice Kain and Jay Mulberry, AB’63

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

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.

Integrity of the Page: The Creative Process of Daniel Clowes

An exhibition at the University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center offers visitors a rare glimpse into the creative process of legendary cartoonist Daniel Clowes.

Cover sketch for Eightball #23

Cover sketch for “Eightball” #23, ca. 2003-2004. Daniel Clowes Archive, University of Chicago Library. Copyright Daniel Clowes.

The exhibition features notes, outlines, narrative drafts, character sketches, draft layouts and more for three of Clowes’ award-winning graphic novels: The Death-Ray (2011), Ice Haven (2005) and Mister Wonderful (2011).

“Integrity of the Page: The Creative Process of Daniel Clowes” opens March 28 and runs through June 17 at the Special Collections Research Center. Clowes, LAB’79, will sign his new book, Patience, and discuss his work with Daniel Raeburn, lecturer in creative nonfiction, in celebration of the opening of the exhibition on March 29 from 5 to 8 p.m. in Room 122 of the Joseph Regenstein Library.

“The exhibit pieces together these materials so that you can see the arc of Clowes’ art, from his beginning ideas and notebooks all the way through to publication,” said Ashley Gosselar, who curated the show.

Clowes works almost entirely by hand with paper, pencil and ink. “Integrity of the Page” highlights the physicality of his art, allowing visitors to see the detailed elements of his work—lettering, texture and facial expressions—up close.

The material featured in the exhibition is part of the Daniel Clowes Archive, which the University of Chicago Library acquired in 2015.

Character sketches for "The Death-Ray"

Character sketches for “The Death-Ray,” ca. 2003-2011. Daniel Clowes Archive, University of Chicago Library. Copyright Daniel Clowes.

“I couldn’t be more honored and pleased, and frankly astonished, to have my archival materials included in Special Collections,” Clowes said at that time. “The University of Chicago, both the physical campus and the institution, was central, almost overwhelmingly so, to my formative life, the first 18 years of which were spent three blocks away from this very site. There could be no more appropriate place for these papers to find their home.”

Sketch of Marshall and Natalie for "Mr. Wonderful"

Sketch of Marshall and Natalie for “Mister Wonderful,” ca. 2007-2011. Daniel Clowes Archive, University of Chicago Library. Copyright Daniel Clowes.

Clowes’ first professional work appeared in Cracked in 1985. In 1989, he created the seminal comic book series Eightball, which ran for 23 issues through 2004 and earned him a large following and multiple industry awards.

Eightball generated several graphic novels, including Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron, Pussey! and Ghost World, his breakthrough hit about the last summer of a teenage friendship. The 2001 film adaptation of Ghost World, based on a script by Clowes and director Terry Zwigoff, was nominated for an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay.

Self-portrait sketch for "Mister Wonderful"

Self-portrait sketch for “Mister Wonderful,” ca. 2008-2011. Daniel Clowes Archive, University of Chicago Library. Copyright Daniel Clowes.

Ice Haven, an intricate tale of kidnapping and alienation in a small Midwestern town, and The Death-Ray, the unlikely story of a teenage superhero in the 1970s, both appeared in Eightball before their publication in book form. Clowes’ “middle-aged romance” Mister Wonderful began as a serialized comic for The New York Times Magazine and was collected in an expanded hardcover edition in 2011.

Clowes’ comics, graphic novels and anthologies have been translated into more than 20 languages, and his work has been the subject of numerous international exhibitions. A major retrospective of his work debuted at the Oakland Museum of California in 2012 and traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in 2013.

Clowes, has longstanding ties to the University of Chicago. Born and raised in Hyde Park, he attended the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools before moving to New York to study at the Pratt Institute. His grandfather, James Lea Cate, was a scholar of medieval history and historiography and a UChicago professor from 1930 to 1969. His stepmother, Harriet Clowes, worked in development at the University of Chicago Library from 1976 to 1980.

Layout sketch for "Mister Wonderful,"

Layout sketch for “Mister Wonderful,” ca. 2007-2011. Daniel Clowes Archive, University of Chicago Library. Copyright Daniel Clowes.

In 2012, Clowes participated in the “Comics: Philosophy and Practice” conference sponsored by the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry. That event brought together 17 world-renowned cartoonists for three days of public conversation.

The Daniel Clowes Archive adds to the University of Chicago Library’s growing collection of materials related to word and image studies. The library holds an extensive collection of contemporary comics, including many comics and zines published in Chicago, as well as the Walter C. Dopierala Comic Book Collection, which contains more than 2,000 popular mid-century comic books. The library plans to add to its comics archive in the years to come.

Images and Media Contacts

Images from the exhibition included on this page are reserved for use in journalistic publications and must be first published between January 2016 and July 2016 in connection with the University of Chicago Library exhibition “Integrity of the Page: The Creative Process of Daniel Clowes,” associated events, or the Daniel Clowes Archive at the University of Chicago Library. Use of the image must include the following citation: Daniel Clowes Archive, University of Chicago Library. Copyright Daniel Clowes.

For more information and high-resolution images, contact:

Mary Abowd
News Officer for Arts & Humanities
The University of Chicago
mra1@uchicago.edu
773-702-8383

or

Rachel Rosenberg
Director of Communications
The University of Chicago Library
ra-rosenberg@uchicago.edu
773-834-1519

A University of Chicago news release

Envisioning South Asia: Texts, Scholarship, Legacies

Exhibition Dates: January 11 – March 18, 2016
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637
Associated web exhibit available now at lib.uchicago.edu/e/webexhibits/envisioningsouthasia

Bhadrabahu. Kalpasūtra.

Bhadrabahu. Kalpasūtra, undated. William and Marianne Salloch Collection of Prints and Drawings: “People with Books.” The University of Chicago Library. A folio from an illustrated Jain manuscript.

From the times of Marco Polo to the British Empire to the postcolonial nation, South Asia has been imagined, pictured, explored, and examined. How did explorers, missionaries, colonial officials, and scholars view South Asia? What did South Asian self-representations look like? This exhibition explores the Regenstein Library’s extraordinary resources related to South Asia through visual metaphors of imagination, representation, and engagement. From palm leaf manuscripts to historical maps, and from rare books to digital projects, Envisioning South Asia offers a kaleidoscopic tour through scholarly and popular imaginations in text and image. Many of the artifacts on display, including treasures from Special Collections, are presented to the public for the first time, providing visitors a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich histories and cultures of South Asia.

Since the opening of the University in 1892, scholars and students have explored the languages and civilizations of the Indian subcontinent. As the university celebrates its 125th anniversary, the exhibition also marks the 60th anniversary of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies and the 50th anniversary of the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations.

postcard East Indian railway

East Indian Railway. Postcard from Digital South Asia Library, The University of Chicago Library.

Curators: Ulrike Stark, Professor and Chair, South Asian Languages and Civilizations; Anna Seastrand, Collegiate Assistant Professor, Harper Fellow, Society of Fellows; and Ian Desai, Collegiate Assistant Professor, Harper Fellow, Society of Fellows.

Co-sponsored by the University of Chicago Library, the Committee on Southern Asian Studies, and the Library Society with support from the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations.

Hours: Monday–Friday: 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.; Saturdays: 9 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. when classes are in session. Consult hours for the Special Collections Research Center at hours.lib.uchicago.edu

The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Opening Reception

January 13, 6-7:30 p.m.
Regenstein Library, Room 122, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago

Meet the curators at an opening reception for the exhibition Envisioning South Asia: Texts, Scholarship, Legacies.

Co-sponsored by the University of Chicago Library, the Committee on Southern Asian Studies, the Library Society, and the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations.

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.

Poetic associations inspire an exhibition and a gift from the Wachs family

Dante Gabriel Rossetti ( 1828-1882). The Poems of Dante Gabriel Rossetti: With Illustrations from His Own Pictures and Designs. Edited with an introduction and notes by W. M. Rossetti. London: Ellis and Elvey, 1904. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library. Gift of Deborah Wachs Barnes, Sharon Wachs Hirsch, Judith Pieprz, and Joel Wachs, AB’92.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882). “The Poems of Dante Gabriel Rossetti: With Illustrations from His Own Pictures and Designs.” Edited with an introduction and notes by W. M. Rossetti. London: Ellis and Elvey, 1904. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library. Gift of Deborah Wachs Barnes, Sharon Wachs Hirsch, Judith Pieprz, and Joel Wachs, AB’92. (Photo by Michael Kenny)

Poetry, usually considered a solitary art, is often produced within social circles and communities, shaped by friendships, rivalries, and collaborations. The same can be said of book collecting, an activity at once completely individualistic and yet pursued within a network of other collectors, booksellers, and librarians.

The fall exhibition in the Special Collections Research Center, Poetic Associations: The Nineteenth-Century English Poetry Collection of Dr. Gerald N. Wachs, showcases selections from the nearly 900 items assembled through the extraordinary collaboration between Dr. Wachs (1937-2013) and bookseller Stephen Weissman. It also celebrates an exceptionally generous gift from the Wachs family to the University of Chicago Library.

Over 40 years of careful collecting, Dr. Wachs and Mr. Weissman obtained rare publications, both famous and obscure, including many with inscriptions or interesting provenance that provide a roadmap to the poetic associations that spanned several literary eras from the Romantic age to the beginning of the twentieth century and produced some of the most well-known and well-loved poetry in English of all time.

Examples from this rich collection include Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads (1798); the only known copy of Alfred Comyn Lyall’s first edition of Verses Written in India (1880); Felicia Dorothea Hemans’ England and Spain; or, Valour and Patriotism (1808); Alfred Tennyson’s The Ode on the Opening of the Exhibition (1862), the first poem written in his capacity as poet laureate, woven on a silk ribbon for the opening of the International Exhibition held at the Crystal Palace; and The Battle of Marathon; A Poem (1820), Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s first book, privately printed in an edition of 50 copies.

The University of Chicago is most fortunate to have received, as a gift, hundreds of titles from the Wachs Collection thanks to the tremendous generosity of the Wachs Family— Deborah Wachs Barnes, Sharon Wachs Hirsch, Judith Pieprz, and Joel Wachs, AB’92. This splendid gift will create new areas of depth in the Library’s collection, such as Anglo-Indian poetry, and adds many works with features of great interest to researchers.

Dr. Gerald Wachs with his children

Dr. Gerald Wachs with his children

Joel Wachs’s generosity has extended beyond the donation of his late father’s books. As a member of the Visiting Committee to the Library and a University of Chicago alumnus, he made a magnanimous overall commitment of $1 million, including the gift of books, to support the Library. This leadership gift to the University of Chicago Campaign: Inquiry and Impact includes a generous pledge in support of the Library’s Annual Fund, and supplements Library endowments that Joel previously established. His gift also supports the publication of a catalogue of the Wachs Collection, and the work of English graduate student Eric Powell as a co-curator of the exhibition.

Joel’s gift was inspired by his desire to honor his father’s memory and to champion the University of Chicago and its Library. “The libraries were central to my experience at the University, and supporting them has been a way of making sure that these resources are available for generations to come,” he explained.

“The poetry collection was one of my father’s proudest achievements, as he knew that the rare volumes contained much for scholars,” Joel said. “In the years before he passed away, he worked with Library leadership and staff on ways that he could make his collection available for academic research. I have worked hard to help fulfill my father’s hopes.”

Poetic associations and the Wachs collection

Illustration by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882). “The Poems of Dante Gabriel Rossetti: With Illustrations from His Own Pictures and Designs.” Edited with an introduction and notes by W. M. Rossetti. London: Ellis and Elvey, 1904. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library. Gift of Deborah Wachs Barnes, Sharon Wachs Hirsch, Judith Pieprz, and Joel Wachs, AB’92. Detail from the first edition of Rossetti’s poems illustrated with his own pictures.

Exhibition–Poetic Associations: The 19th-Century English Poetry Collection of Dr. Gerald N. Wachs

Dates: September 21 – December 31, 2015

In the period between the French Revolution and the start of World War I, often called “the long 19th century,” English poetry enjoyed enormous popularity and respect. The Romantics and the Victorians, as we know them today, were celebrities and, often, close friends, part of a literary community that influenced their professional and personal lives. Dr. Gerald N. Wachs (1937-2013), working closely with his friend, bookseller Stephen Weissman of Ximenes Rare Books, collected their works over a period of 40 years starting in 1970, using as their guidebook the Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature. They sought the finest copies, whenever possible ones that were presented by the author to other writers, friends, or family members. Books selected for the Wachs collection are nearly all “special”: in splen­did condition, often one of very few known copies, and many with extraordinary inscriptions that illustrate per­sonal and poetic associations. The resulting collection of nearly 900 titles illuminates the life and works of these enduring poets.

George Gordon, Lord Byron."She Walks in Beauty."

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824). “Hebrew Melodies.” London: Printed for John Murray, 1815. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library. Gift of Deborah Wachs Barnes, Sharon Wachs Hirsch, Judith Pieprz, and Joel Wachs, AB’92. This was the first title acquired for the Wachs collection.

It is difficult to single out representative examples from such a rich assemblage. The exhibition includes 104 items. Some are little-known works by famous authors. For example, Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s first book, The Battle of Marathon; A Poem (1820), privately print­ed in an edition of 50 copies, of which only 15 copies are known to survive. Others are the first appearance of fa­mous works that differ considerably from the version we have come to know, such as Tennyson’s The Charge of the Light Brigade.

After Dr. Wachs’s death, and thanks to the great generosity of the Wachs family (Deborah Wachs Barnes, Sha­ron Wachs Hirsch, Judith Pieprz, and Joel Wachs, AB’92), more than 600 titles have been donated to the University of Chicago. This magnificent gift will create entirely new areas of depth to the Library’s collection, for example Anglo-Indian poetry, and add many works previously not in the collection or with features of great interest to researchers.

Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Hours: Monday–Friday: 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.; Saturdays: 9 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. when classes are in session. Consult hours for the Special Collections Research Center at hours.lib.uchicago.edu.

The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Curators: Catherine Uecker, Alice Schreyer, Sarah G. Wenzel, and Eric Powell

Associated web exhibit: lib.uchicago.edu/e/webexhibits/poeticassociations

 

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.