Upcoming Event: “More Than Lore: Women Founders of the University of Chicago”

 

hitchcock and rockefeller

You probably recognize some of the men in this photo, but can you identify the woman in the front row? Do you know her name or anything about her? Would you like to?

In celebration of Women’s History Month The University of Chicago Library invites you to a study break to learn more about the women who helped build and grow the University.

The event will take place on March 4th in Regenstein Library room 122.  The highlight of the afternoon will be a talk at 3 p.m. given by Daniel Meyer, University Archivist and Director of the Special Collections Research Center, on the women who greatly contributed to the establishment of the University of Chicago. Immediately following the talk everyone is welcome to visit the Special Collections Research Center to view selected original  documents and photographs highlighting women from the University Archives.

 

The event schedule:

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

2:30 p.m. Doors open, room 122, Regenstein Library. Refreshments served, women’s history-themed giveaways

3:00-3:30 p.m. More Than Lore: Women Founders of UChicago, talk given by Daniel Meyer

3:30-4:30 p.m. Display open in the Special Collections Research Center, room 130, Regenstein Library

Plus, pick up one of our new University of Chicago Women trading cards.  Collect them all!

UChicago Women Trading Cards

Famous women of University of Chicago trading cards.

Visit SCRC Gallery During “Archives After Hours” February 12

eggan_girlThe Special Collections Research Center  will host an after-hours talk on Thursday evening, February 12, from 5:00-7:00 in the gallery.  The event will be led by curators for the  latest exhibit, “I Step Out of Myself”: Portrait Photography in Special Collections. Remarks begin at 5:30 and light refreshments will be served.

 “I Step Out of Myself”: Portrait Photography in Special Collections highlights outstanding examples of fine art and photojournalistic portraiture held in the Special Collections Research Center. Displaying selections rarely on public view, the exhibition draws from the work of a varied group of 20th-century photographers: Eva Watson-Schütuze, Carl Van Vechten, Layle Silbert, Mildred Mead, Yousuf Karsh, Alice Boughton, Joan Eggan, and Tina Modotti.

The Special Collections Research Center Gallery is located within the The University of Chicago Regenstein Library, 1100 East 57th Street,  on the first floor.

The Gallery is open Monday-Friday: 9:00 to 4:45 , and, when classes are in session, Saturdays 9:00  to 12:45. The Gallery is closed on Sundays.

New Library Director and University Librarian arrives on campus

Brenda Johnson

Brenda Johnson

Dear University of Chicago Faculty, Students and Staff,

As I begin my second week on campus, I would like to say how very happy I am to have arrived at the University of Chicago. The warm welcome I have received from so many of you in the last few days has made me feel immediately at home.

The University of Chicago’s status as one of the world’s premier academic and research institutions and its Library’s role in fueling intellectual inquiry and a transformative education are well known internationally. As the year unfolds, I look forward to learning much more about your work; about the ways you rely on the Library to support your research, teaching and study; and about the ways you see your needs evolving as you break new scholarly ground or advance in your education.

It will be my great pleasure to meet many more of you and to discuss these matters with you in the coming months.

With warm regards,

Brenda L. Johnson
Library Director and University Librarian
The University of Chicago Library

Current Exhibits ‘I Step Out of Myself’: Portrait Photography in Special Collections

Julio Antonio Mella.  1928. Photograph by Tina Modotti (1896-1942). Frances Hooper Papers. Special Collections Research Center.  The University of Chicago Library.

Julio Antonio Mella, 1928. Photograph by Tina Modotti (1896-1942). Frances Hooper Papers. Special Collections Research Center. The University of Chicago Library.

Exhibition Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL
Dates: January 12 – March 20, 2015
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m; and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. while classes are in session.  Consult hours.lib.uchicago.edu for Special Collections Research Center hours.
Free and open to the public

Curators: Ashley Locke Gosselar, Laura Alagna, Brittan Nannenga, and Eileen Ielmini

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

“I Step Out of Myself”: Portrait Photography in Special Collections highlights outstanding examples of fine art and photojournalistic portraiture held in the Special Collections Research Center. Displaying selections rarely on public view, the exhibition will draw from the work of a varied group of 20th-century photographers: Eva Watson Schütze, Carl Van Vechten, Layle Silbert, Mildred Mead, Yousuf Karsh, Alice Boughton, Joan Eggan, and Tina Modotti. From the romance of Schütze’s portraits of domestic life at the turn of the 20th century, to the stylized glamour of Van Vechten’s celebrity photographs in the 1930s, to the unflinching presentation of raw poverty in Mildred Mead’s portraits of residents of Chicago slums in the 1950s, “I Step Out of Myself” explores the wide range of technique, style, subject matter, and emotion found in modern photographic portraiture.

Use of Images and Media Contact

Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for members of the media, and are reserved for editorial use in connection with University of Chicago Library exhibitions, programs, or related news.  Contact Rachel Rosenberg at ra-rosenberg@uchicago.edu or 773-834-1519.

George Herbert Mead

George Herbert Mead, ca. 1904. Photograph by Alice Boughton (1865-1943). Alice Boughton Photograph Collection. Special Collections Research Center. The University of Chicago Library.

 

Helga Jahrmarkt, ca. 1909.  Photograph by Eva Watson-Schütze. (1867-1935). Eva Watson- Schütze Photograph Collection. Special Collections Research Center. The University of Chicago Library.

Helga Jahrmarkt, ca. 1909. Photograph by Eva Watson-Schütze. (1867-1935). Eva Watson-Schütze Photograph Collection. Special Collections Research Center. The University of Chicago Library.

 

Some Chicagoans, Mr. Clifton Smith.

Some Chicagoans, Mr. Clifton Smith, November 2, 1952. Photograph by Mildred Mead (1910-2001). Mildred Mead Photograph Collection. Special Collections Research Center. The University of Chicago Library.

 

Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel. Photograph by Layle Silbert (1913-2003). Layle Silbert Papers. Special Collections Research Center. The University of Chicago Library.

 

SCRC Closed on January 1, 2015

winterbartlett1948-295x300

 

The Special Collections Research Center will be closed on Thursday, January 1, 2015 in observance of New Year’s Day. We will reopen and resume regular business hours on Friday, January 2, 2015. To submit a reference question online please use our webform found here:  http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/ask/SCRC.html

 

 

 

SCRC Closures in December

Bartlett Hall Winter 1948

Bartlett Hall Winter 1948

The Special Collections Research Center will be closed December 24-25, 2014, and will be open 9:00am-12:45pm on December 26. We will not be able to retrieve items on December 26; all requests for items to be used that day must be submitted no later than noon on December 23. For more information on our hours or for information on requesting items please see our web pages.

Special Collections Closed November 27-30

The Special Collections Research Center will be closed November 27-30 in observation of the Thanksgiving holiday. We will resume our normal hours on December 1.

Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowship applications now open for 2015

Applications are now being accepted for the Summer 2015 Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowship program. Any visiting researcher, writer, or artist residing more than 100 miles from Chicago, and whose project requires on-site consultation of University of Chicago Library collections, primarily archives, manuscripts, rare books, or other materials in the Special Collections Research Center, is eligible.  The deadline is February 16, 2015.  For more information on the program, and directions outlining how to apply, please see our Fellowship website. Applicants may also wish to view the list of past recipients from 2014 and their projects.

Enabling worldwide discovery of rare books: A gift from Roger and Julie Baskes

Enhancing online catalog records for rare books is a high priority for the University of Chicago Library in the University’s capital campaign. Detailed cataloging is an essential tool for researchers to discover handwritten annotations, special bindings or illustrations, and other features of individual copies of rare books. The Library has long recognized the scholarly value of this work, but without additional funding the project could take as long as 20 years to complete.

Julie and Roger Baskes

Julie and Roger Baskes

Prominent Chicago cultural philanthropists Roger and Julie Baskes stepped forward this spring as the right donors for this endeavor. In his seven years on the Library’s Visiting Committee, Mr. Baskes said, he was impressed by “the Library’s extraordinary commitment to keeping its collections physically and instantly accessible, at the very center of the campus” through the construction of the Mansueto Library. An avid and knowledgeable book collector, Mr. Baskes has also nurtured a long affiliation with Chicago’s Newberry Library, serving as a trustee and previously as chairman of the board. Over the last 30 years, he has cultivated a one-of-a-kind personal collection of rare and historical books with maps.

In doing so, Mr. Baskes explained, “I became aware of the extraordinary collections of rare books at the world’s great research libraries, especially as the catalogs of these libraries began to be accessible online, and discovered that the University of Chicago Library is one of the world’s most important repositories of rare books. Julie and I also understand that however rare, beautiful, or extensive such materials may be, their value to scholars is entirely dependent upon their accessibility.”

Baskes Bookplate

The electronic bookplate for gifts from the Roger Baskes Collection.

With that in mind, Mr. and Mrs. Baskes made a $250,000 commitment to support the cataloging project. “Twenty-first century readers and students of rare books and manuscripts, whether part of the University of Chicago community or from other parts of the world, will come to the Library after they have learned from its online catalog that there exist materials important to their research,” Mr. Baskes said. “We believe that little would add to the value of the Library’s remarkable Special Collections more than the enhancement and editing of its catalog, and we are honored to support it.”

Along with their monetary support, Mr. and Mrs. Baskes are also donating rare and historical books with maps that they have collected. So far the Library has received approximately 100 titles ranging from the 18th century to the late 20th. In addition to American, English, and French books with maps, the gifts include books in Japanese, Armenian, and Ottoman Turkish. When they are cataloged, the associated online records will bear a custom electronic bookplate (pictured) and will be readily retrievable by searching the catalog for the donor name.

“We have long understood the importance of improving access to our rare book collections by providing more detailed and accurate catalog records,” said Alice Schreyer, Interim Library Director and Associate University Librarian for Area Studies and Special Collections. “Roger and Julie’s gift will make the unique features of our collections known to a wide range of scholars who would otherwise not discover them.”

In recognition of their gift, a group study space in the Special Collections Research Center will be named the “Julie and Roger Baskes Group Study.” Students, faculty, and visiting scholars use this room to work collaboratively with rare and historical materials.

#AskAnArchivist Day is October 30

 

Curious about what goes on behind the scenes in the Special Collections Research Center? (“Is it really like the movie National Treasure?”) Burning with questions about campus history? (“When was my dormitory built?”) Wondering what to do with your digital files? (“How should I store the photos on my phone so that I have access to them later on?”)

On October 30, staff in the Special Collections Research Center will join archivists and special collections librarians from across the country on Twitter to answer your questions about any and all things archives! This day-long event, sponsored by the Society of American Archivists, will give you the opportunity to ask questions about archives and archival work.

To ask us a specific question use #AskAnArchivist and tag us @UChicagoSCRC.

 

Here’s the lineup:

10 am: Ashley Locke – Processing Archivist and Christine Colburn – Manager in public services and collections

11 am: Leah Richardson – Special Collections Reference Librarian and Laura Alagna -Digital Archivist

12 pm: Catherine Uecker – Rare Books Librarian and Laura Alagna – Digital Archivist

1 pm: Ashley Locke – Processing Archivist and Joe Scott – Exhibits Designer

2 pm: Leah Richardson – Special Collections Reference Librarian and Brittan Nannenga – Accessions Archivist

3 pm: Julia Gardner – Head of Reader Services and Christine Colburn – Manager in public services and collections

Don’t have a question right away? Search Twitter for #AskAnArchivist and follow along as questions and answers are shared! Follow the Special Collections Research Center on Twitter: https://twitter.com/UChicagoSCRC 

Feature Story Brenda Johnson named Library Director and University Librarian

Brenda L. Johnson, an internationally respected leader in the field of library science, has been appointed Library Director and University Librarian, Provost Eric Isaacs announced Oct. 16. Her five-year term begins Jan. 1, 2015.

“The Library plays a key role in the life of faculty and students at the University of Chicago,” Isaacs said. “Brenda’s expertise in supporting both physical collections and the proliferation of digital resources, along with her history of collaboration and innovative thinking, make her an outstanding leader for this important enterprise.”

Brenda Johnson

Brenda Johnson

Johnson currently serves as Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries at Indiana University, Bloomington—a position she has held since 2010. She succeeds Judith Nadler, who retired in June after nearly five decades of service to UChicago.

Before coming to Indiana University, Johnson was University Librarian at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She spent more than 20 years at the University of Michigan, where she served as Associate University Librarian for Public Services, a position with responsibility over that institution’s 19 libraries.

She is active in the national and international library community through service and leadership on a variety of executive boards and committees, such as the board of governors of HathiTrust, the board of directors of CLOCKSS (a digital repository for web-based scholarly publications), the Committee on Institutional Cooperation Library Directors Group, the board of directors of Kuali OLE (Open Library Environment), and the Association of Research Libraries’ Scholarly Communications Steering Committee.

Johnson has become a nationally and internationally recognized voice on topics such as the rapid pace of change in information discovery and dissemination, the development of multi-institution “collective collections,” and research and learning environments, as well as the need for library transformation that fosters scholarly engagement and support. Her recent international speaking engagements have taken her to London, Shanghai, Kyushu and Yokohama, Japan.

“The University of Chicago Library is a unique and influential institution among academic libraries,” Johnson said. “I am truly honored by the opportunity to lead it through a time of transformation for all libraries, and eager to collaborate with faculty, students and staff to ensure its vitality in the years to come.”

Diane Lauderdale, professor of Health Studies, is chair of the Library’s faculty board and chaired the search committee that recommended Johnson for the position of Library Director.

“Brenda Johnson is an experienced library director and well-respected leader in the international academic library community,” Lauderdale said. “She will bring to the University of Chicago a deep understanding of collections, public and technical services and new technologies. We have an outstanding collection and staff here, but like all university libraries, face challenging decisions in the next few years about our physical and digital collections. The search committee felt confident that Brenda had the experience, insight and vision to lead our library to an even higher level of excellence.”

At a time of change for libraries nationwide, the University of Chicago Library has flourished as a center of intellectual inquiry recognized throughout academia and a dynamic learning environment for UChicago students. With its 11.9 million volumes, noted collections in a broad range of fields, including global resources and commitment to keeping its collection on campus, the Library has become a destination for scholars and a model for other institutions worldwide.  

The Joseph Regenstein Library and the adjoining Joe and Rika Mansueto Library are located in the heart of the Hyde Park campus—a testament to the Library’s continued importance to scholarly and campus life at the University, Isaacs said.

The Mansueto Library is the most recent addition to the library system. Mansueto houses cutting-edge facilities for book preservation and digitization, as well as a high-density underground storage system with the capacity to hold 3.5 million volume equivalents. The library was designed to fulfill scholars’ needs for easy access to print resources at a time when many other research universities are moving their collections to off-site storage.

The library is named in honor of Joe Mansueto, AB’78, MBA’80, and Rika Yoshida, AB’91, who gave a $25 million gift to the University in 2008. Architect Helmut Jahn designed the facility’s iconic glass dome, which encloses a light-filled reading room and an underground storage system that descends 50 feet below ground.

Alice Schreyer, Associate University Librarian for Area Studies and Special Collections, has been leading the Library on an interim basis since Nadler’s retirement. She will continue in that role until Johnson’s arrival.

A University of Chicago news release

Special Collections Closing Early October 14

The Special Collections Research Center will close early, at 3:00pm, on Tuesday, October 14, for a special event. We will resume our normal hours Wednesday, October 15.  We regret any inconvenience caused.

SCRC Opens at 10:30 on Friday, September 12

The Special Collections Research Center will open at 10:30 Friday morning, September 12.  We will return to our usual opening time of 9:00am on Monday, September 15, and regret any inconvenience caused.

Robert Maynard Hutchins Papers available for research

A youthful Robert M. Hutchins in 1929

A youthful Robert M. Hutchins in 1929

The Robert Maynard Hutchins Papers are now available for research.

This collection is distinct from the Office of the President, Hutchins Administration Records, and includes material pertaining to Hutchins’ research, writing, and speaking; material relevant to his professional activities; correspondence; subject files; personal ephemera; honors and awards; annotated books; and photographs and audio recordings. The  bulk of the material dates between 1921 and 1977.

The correspondence series represents the largest portion of the collection. Hutchins corresponded with an impressive number of 20th-century luminaries including Saul Alinsky, Steve Allen, Pearl S. Buck, Albert Einstein, T. S. Eliot, Hubert Humphrey, Oscar Hammerstein II, Aldous and Laura Huxley, Charles and Anne Lindbergh, Benjamin E. Mays, Thurgood Marshall, Edward R. Murrow, Paul Newman, the Rockefeller family, Earl Warren, Frank Lloyd Wright, William O. Douglas, Adlai Stevenson, Thornton Wilder, and many more.

Exhibits En Guerre: French Illustrators and World War I

Exhibition Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL
Dates: October 14, 2014 – January 2, 2015
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m; and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. while classes are in session.  Consult hours.lib.uchicago.edu for Special Collections Research Center holiday hours.
Price: Free and open to the public

Curators: Professor Neil Harris and Dr. Teri J. Edelstein

Associated Web Exhibit: lib.uchicago.edu/e/webexhibits/enguerre

André Hellé, Alphabet de la Grande Guerre 1914–1916

André Hellé. “Batterie/Charge.” Alphabet de la Grande Guerre 1914–1916. Paris: Berger-Levrault, [1916]. On loan from a private collection.

Description: On the centenary of the Great War’s commencement, En Guerre: French Illustrators and World War I explores the conflict through French graphic illustration of the period. The exhibition presents themes essential to a deeper understanding of the war in France: patriotism, propaganda, the soldier’s experience, as well as the mobilization of the home front as seen through fashion, humor, and children’s literature.

Like no other conflict before it, the Great War was a war of images.  Its scale, duration, and intensity were brought home to the public by media and technologies that, in some cases, were well established, but in others seemed novel and even startling.  Films, photographs, lithographic posters, illustrated books, prints, postcards, many in huge quantities, were part of an international propaganda effort that had few parallels before or since.  It offered special opportunities to artists with established reputations and rich possibilities for those just beginning their careers.

French artists, young and old, responded to patriotic appeals with ardor.  Many served at the front, were wounded, taken prisoner, or died as a result of battle.  The totalizing impact of World War I meant, however, that civilian loyalty had to be nurtured continuously during the conflict, and dramatic appeals made to every segment of society.  The identification and cultivation of specialized markets for illustrated books, magazines, and print portfolios—the subjects of this exhibition—encouraged artists and publishers to develop wartime projects of some consequence. Purchasers displayed their loyalty to the cause by buying and, in some cases, displaying the art.

Bonfils, "Sur Mer"

Robert Bonfils. “Sur mer.” La manière française. Paris: Librairie Lutetia, [1916]. On loan from a private collection.

Odette Champion, “Modes de printemps: Berlin-Vienne-Constantinople.”

Odette Champion, “Modes de printemps: Berlin-Vienne-Constantinople.” Fantasio. Paris: Félix Juven, [1915]. Gift of Neil Harris and Teri J. Edelstein, The University of Chicago Library.

En Guerre concentrates upon a group of illustrators who became intimately involved with wartime themes. Building upon market transformations and economies of scale, they proceeded in many cases to recast their own art, and prepare the way for the new schools of illustration that would develop in the 1920s and 30s. These in turn carried the French illustrated book to new heights. Three points of origin merit special attention. First is the burgeoning world of illustrated magazines, often polemical, satiric, and sexually graphic in their comprehensive coverage. Some, like La vie parisienne (1863), had been founded many decades earlier, but others, like Le rire (1895), L’assiette au beurre (1900), and Fantasio (1906), were of more recent vintage. The war itself would generate still more journals of this kind, notably La baïonnette (1915). 

This flowering of illustrated journalism served as nursery, laboratory, and gymnasium for a whole generation of illustrators and caricaturists–Andre Hellé, Jacques Touchet, Joseph Hemard, Gus Bofa, Gerda Wegener, Georges Delaw, among many others. Simultaneously acerbic, mordant, irreverent, sentimental, cynical, the magazine illustrators were well suited to the task of wartime commentary. Some of them would inspire the work of comic strip artists in later decades, and many would be active creators of limited edition French illustrated books in the the future.

Schaller, En Guerre

Charlotte Schaller. En guerre! Paris: Berger-Levrault, [1914]. On loan from a private collection.

The second spawning ground for wartime visual culture was the French fashion industry. Two notable portfolios, Les robes de Paul Poiret (1908) by Paul Iribe, and Les choses de Paul Poiret (1911) by Georges Lepape, have become seminal moments in the development of Art Deco graphics. Preceded by a host of fashion-oriented magazines and portfolios, they were followed shortly by new illustrated journals and portfolios, which did much to reestablish French primacy in the world of grande luxe, facing as it did some newly aggressive competition from Germany and Austria-Hungary. Lucien Vogel’s creation of Gazette du bon ton in 1912 was probably the most notable of these, alongside Modes et manières d’aujourd’hui, also appearing the same year. These exquisitely printed, limited edition productions featured the pochoir designs of Georges Lepape, Charles Martin, A. E. Marty, George Barbier, Robert Bonfils, Guy Arnoux, and many other artists who would become active producers of wartime illustration and notable creators of postwar illustrated books. The mobilization of high-style illustrators on behalf of the national effort constitutes one of the more dramatic episodes in the history of French fashion design, and the exhibition will highlight ways in which costume, dress, and the “high life” were exploited in the interests of distinguishing French taste from that of the enemy. La baïonnette, Fantasio, and other periodicals were filled with their work.

Lefevre, Sur le pont

Louis Lefèvre. “Sur le pont.” Rondes glorieuses. [S.l.: s.n., n.d.]. 1ière série. On loan from a private collection.

The third arena, which En Guerre will examine in some detail, involves the French children’s book. Here there was a long and rich history to draw on, especially in the 19th century: Gustave Doré, Job, and Boutet de Monvel, were prominent. World War I saw some extraordinary productions, meant to inform, proselytize, and instruct children about the great conflict. Scholars in France and the United States have recently been examining this literature. Its size and variety are impressive. In some ways the wartime harvest appears eclectic. Established artists like Hansi and Joseph Pinchon (creator of Becassine) coexisted with newcomers like Charlotte Schaller, André Hellé, Henrietta Damart, and Val-Rau. Some would go on to considerable fame, while others languish in obscurity. What is most arresting here is the mobilization of children in this total war, using books (and toys) to involve them in the military effort, stimulate their patriotism, and socialize them to the loss of family and loved ones.

While these three areas will receive special attention, the exhibition will also note the work of artist-illustrators like Raoul Dufy, J. E. Laboureur, Fernand Léger, and André Lhote. Many of them served at the front and presented the story of the poilu, the French soldier, or focused on the dress and behavior of allied soldiers–American and British particularly. Their creations highlight the contribution of artists to the war effort.

Organized by Professor Neil Harris and Dr. Teri J. Edelstein for the Special Collections Research Center of the University of Chicago Library, the exhibition features more than one hundred and thirty examples of the colorful work of French illustrators, En Guerre reaffirms the persuasive role that art can play in servicing or challenging political and military power.

Commemoration of the centenary of the Great WarThis exhibition has received the designation of the commemoration of the centenary of the Great War.

Harris & Edelstein, En Guerre

Neil Harris and Teri J. Edelstein, En Guerre: French Illustrators and World War I, Chicago: The University of Chicago Library, 2014.

 

Associated Catalogue

Neil Harris and Teri J. Edelstein, En Guerre: French Illustrators and World War I.   The University of Chicago Library.  156 pp. with more than 100 full color illustrations. Distributed by The University of Chicago Press.

Logos of the Insitut Francais and French Embassy in the United StatesSupport for this publication was provided by the Smart Family Foundation, Inc.; the University of Chicago Library Society; the France Chicago Center of the University of Chicago; the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation; Martha Fleischman; the Institut Français in Paris and the Cultural Service at the Consulate of France in Chicago; and an anonymous donor.

About the Curators

Neil Harris is the Preston and Sterling Morton Professor of History and Art History Emeritus at the University of Chicago. He is the author of many books, including, most recently, Capital Culture: J. Carter Brown, the National Gallery of Art, and the Reinvention of the Museum Experience, published by the University of Chicago Press. Teri J. Edelstein is an art historian and museum professional. Her scholarly work has focused on the intersection of high art and popular culture. Most recently, she was editor of and contributor to Art for All: British Posters for Transport, Yale University Press. Together, they have written The Chicagoan: A Lost Magazine of the Jazz Age, published by The University of Chicago Press.

Use of Images and Media Contacts

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

Download high-resolution images. (This will take several minutes.)

For more information, contact Rachel Rosenberg at ra-rosenberg@uchicago.edu or 773-834-1519, or Susie Allen at sjallen1@uchicago.edu or 773-702-4009.

Exhibits Feature Story Scholarship as a living process

Exhibition shows UChicago researchers in mid-thought in Mexico

Researching Mexico: University of Chicago Field Explorations in Mexico, 1896-2014 is on display in the Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery through October 4, 2014. An associated web exhibit is available online. Co-curator Seonaid Valiant, UChicago History Ph.D. Candidate 2014, explains how her dissertation research and other academic experiences influenced her approach to creating the exhibition.

Has field work in Mexico been particularly important to University of Chicago faculty? Why focus a Special Collections exhibition on this subject?

The relationship between the University of Chicago and Mexico has always been incredibly significant—particularly for the social sciences—but that relationship isn’t as well known as it could be. For more than a hundred years, University of Chicago professors across many disciplines have developed important, ongoing working relationships with the people, academic institutions, and government of Mexico. As a result, the Special Collections Research Center has developed collections of fascinating documents and artifacts that have been donated by professors over the years.

Howard Taylor Ricketts, Mexico City, 1910

Howard Taylor Ricketts, Mexico City, 1910

For many scholars, Mexico afforded opportunities and adventures—particularly for researchers in the field—that were unavailable elsewhere. Telling the personal stories of these researchers and scholars highlights how passionate, interesting, and dramatic the life of the mind can be. Howard Taylor Ricketts’s tragic story, for example, demonstrates how this work can be both crucially important and dangerous. Invited by the Mexican government in 1909 to research the cause of a typhus outbreak in Mexico City, Ricketts worked with Mexican doctors, nurses, and government officials to confirm the source of the problem. He succeeded, but not before he contracted a fatal case of typhus. We included the funeral ribbon placed on his coffin by the Mexican government to show how his sacrifice was recognized.

Were some of the faculty members featured in the exhibition important to your development as a graduate student?

Curating this exhibition was a way of connecting my own work back to that of my predecessors and highlighting the tradition of Mexican scholarship at the University. For example, Friedrich Katz, whose papers are part of the exhibition, was my mentor when I first entered the History Ph.D. program at the University of Chicago. When I knew him, near the end of his life, he was a world-renowned and well-respected scholar of the Mexican revolution, but as I sorted through the unprocessed boxes that contained his papers, I was fascinated to discover correspondence detailing his struggle, as an ambitious academic, to leave East Germany. He finally found a home at the University of Chicago, where he could pursue scholarship without the threat of anti-Semitism and censorship. After the publication of his biography of Pancho Villa in 1998, Katz was named an honorary citizen of the state of Chihuahua and awarded the Order of the Aztec Eagle by the Mexican government.

How is the exhibition connected to your dissertation research?

In my research, which is focused on foreign archaeologists battling with Mexican government officials at the turn of the 20th century, I explore how scholastic ideas develop and travel among scholars informally before transitioning to more formal discourse and then finally to publication. I trace these ideas through the discussions, friendships, and rivalries that scholars have had with each other and with government officials. That has made me particularly attuned to the idea of scholarship as a dynamic process, inflected by personal relationships and private lives, and academic discourse as something that has to be actively constructed.

Redfield family

Redfield family in Mexico, 1929

In keeping with this interest, many of the items selected for this show represent the research process rather than final publications. One of the goals of the exhibition is to give the public a glimpse of scholarship in action and to present it as a living process. The papers and artifacts created by these professors during the course of their field work give us access to their reflections and preparations in various phases of their work. In the exhibition, we’ve aimed to capture these thinkers in mid-thought, before their final conclusions have been drawn, and to present their intellectual achievements as emerging from a process of engagement with the raw materials of their research. Research notes, correspondence, and diaries give a more intimate, nuanced portrayal of each scholar’s development and place their intellectual work in a fuller context.

For example, the letters from the anthropologist Robert Redfield to his wife, Margaret Park Redfield, interweave thoughts about his work in Chichen Itza in 1932 with family concerns and show how important his wife’s role as confidant and sounding board was as he began to develop his scholastic plans in an informal way.

How did you come to co-curate the exhibition, and what made you interested in doing so?

I was delighted when Kathleen Feeney, Head of Archives Processing and Digital Access in Special Collections, invited me to co-curate the exhibition with her. Kathleen knew that I was already familiar with many of the relevant collections, both because of the research I had conducted for my dissertation and because of the work I had done there as a graduate student archives processing assistant in Special Collections. One of the things that drew me to study history was the excitement of working directly with documents and artifacts in archives. Curating this exhibition with Kathleen, I knew, would give me a chance to share some of my favorite items and the stories that went with them, as well as my passion for the materials and the mission of Special Collections.

Which are your favorites?

The Frederick Starr notebooks, the corridos in the Robert Redfield papers and the lantern slides in the Adolf Carl Noé papers. These, along with the diaries, linguistic note cards, letters, and portraits in some of the other collections, tell a larger story about the freedom of investigation that University of Chicago scholars have consistently found in Mexico.

Chiapas animals and index card

Toy animals used to identify indigenous words, circa 1950s

Did you make any new discoveries as you curated the exhibition?

Curating Researching Mexico brought home for me how important it is for today’s scholars to be able to work directly with archives and original artifacts associated with their predecessors. Many of the most interesting items on display were only discovered in the process of preparing for the exhibit, by methodically investigating the Special Collections holdings.

For example, we were surprised to uncover the collection of toy animals that now forms one of the exhibition’s most unusual displays. In their field work, the linguists in the Chiapas Project asked native indigenous language speakers to identify these toy animals in their own languages. Finding the animals and the lists of translations not only delighted us but helped us to understand the process that the researchers used to collect words one at a time, finally gathering enough materials for textbooks in Tzeltal, Yucatec, and Quiche.

In bringing unseen materials like these to the public eye, we want to hint at the unexpected connections and discoveries that can be made through archival research and encourage students and scholars to examine primary sources in archives for themselves. Finding these little-known stories can be a thrilling experience, and preserving and sharing them with other scholars, academics, students, and the public is an important part of the work of the University.

Requesting SCRC Items During Catalog Transition

The University of Chicago Library will be implementing a new catalog beginning August 1 through mid August. Although we do not anticipate disruptions to service in Special Collections, we may experience delays in requesting or retrieving materials during the transition period. If you plan to visit Special Collections during this period, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your visit.

Special Collections Closed July 4-5

fireworksThe Special Collections Research Center will be closed Friday, July 4, and Saturday, July 5, in observation of the Independence Day holiday.  We will resume our normal hours on Monday, July 7. 

Exhibits Researching Mexico: University of Chicago Field Explorations in Mexico, 1896-2014

Exhibition Location: Special Collections Research Center, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL
Exhibition Dates: June 30, 2014 – October 4, 2014
Associated Web Exhibit: lib.uchicago.edu/e/webexhibits/researchingmexico

Brent Berlin with informant

Brent Berlin with informant, photograph, undated. Norman McQuown. Papers. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

University of Chicago scholars have traveled to Mexico since the late 19th century, pursuing research subjects ranging from archival investigation of revolutionary leaders, to documentation of indigenous communities and languages, to the search for the cause of a deadly strain of typhus.

Drawn from the holdings of the Special Collections Research Center, including the papers of Friedrich Katz, Robert Redfield, Norman McQuown, Manning Nash, Howard T. Ricketts, Sol Tax, Frederick Starr, and others, this exhibit presents correspondence, diaries, photographs, sketches, recordings and objects generated and collected by these scholars in the field, as well as holdings from the Rare Books and Manuscripts collections that continue to support study of Mexican history and culture.

Presented in conjunction with the University of Chicago’s Katz Center for Mexican Studies, this exhibition will mark the meeting in Chicago of the XIV Reunión Internacional de Historiadores de México from September 18-21, 2014.

Curators: Seonaid Valiant and Kathleen Feeney

Exhibition Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-4:45 p.m.; Saturdays: 9:00 a.m.-12:45 p.m. when University of Chicago classes are in session.

 

 

Investigando México: Estudios de Campo en México realizados por la Universidad de Chicago, 1896-2014

Corrido broadsheet

Corridos, broadsheets collected in Mexico, circa 1920s. Robert Redfield. Papers. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Galería de Exhibición, Centro de Investigación de Colecciones Especiales
Junio 30, 2014-Octubre 4, 2014

Docentes de la Universidad de Chicago han viajado a México desde finales del siglo XIX, buscando temas de investigación que involucran desde los archivos de líderes revolucionarios, documentación sobre comunidades y lenguas indígenas, hasta el origen de una cepa mortal de tifo. Derivada del material reservado en el Centro de Investigación de Colecciones Especiales, incluyendo documentos de Friedrich Katz, Robert Redfield, Norman McQuown, Manning Nash, Howard T. Ricketts, Sol Tax, Frederick Starr, entre otros, esta exhibición expone correspondencia, diarios, fotografías, apuntes, grabaciones y objetos generados y reunidos por estos académicos en su campo de estudio, así como también material proveniente de la colección de Libros y Manuscritos Especializados, mismos que continúan apoyando el estudio de la historia y cultura mexicana.   

Esta exhibición, presentada conjuntamente con el Centro Katz de Estudios Mexicanos de la Universidad de Chicago, marcará el inicio en Chicago de la XIV Reunión Internacional de Historiadores de México, que se llevará a cabo del 18 al 21 de septiembre de 2014.

Curadores: Seonaid Valiant and Kathleen Feeney

Exposición abierta: Lunes-Viernes, 9:00 a.m.-4:45 p.m.; Sabado: 9:00 a.m.-12:45 p.m. cuando las clases de la University of Chicago están en session

Use of Images

Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for members of the media, and are reserved for editorial use in connection with University of Chicago Library exhibitions, programs, or related news.  Email Rachel Rosenberg (phone: 773-834-1519) or Joseph Scott (phone: 773-702-6655)  to request high-resolution images.

Para información o preguntas en español, dirijase al Centro Katz al: 773-834-1987 o mexicanstudies@uchicago.edu.

Pottery, Circa 1900. Frederick Starr. Papers.

Pottery, photograph, circa 1900. Frederick Starr. Papers. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

doctors and nurses in Typhus Ward

Doctors and nurses in Typhus Ward, Hospital Generale, Mexico City, photograph, circa 1910. Howard Taylor Ricketts. Papers. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Redfield family in Mexico

Redfield family in Mexico, photograph, August 1929. Robert Redfield. Papers. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Chart from Totanac Literacy Project

Chart from Totonac Literacy Project, circa 1939. Norman McQuown. Papers. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

The Life and Times of Pancho Villa cover

Friedrich Katz, “The Life and Times of Pancho Villa.” Stanford University Press: Stanford. 1998.

Peñafiel facade

Antonio Peñafiel (1830-1922),
“Monumentos del Art Mexicana Antiguo…”
Berlin: A. Asher & Co. 1890. Rare Book Collection. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Committee to Frame a World Constitution Records Re-housed

Committee to Frame a World Constitution PosterContinuing our collections news, one of our more frequently used collections, The Committee to Frame a World Constitution Records, has been re-housed into new, more usable containers.  This collection, which documents efforts to formulate a world constitution in the post-War era, includes correspondence, administrative and financial records, manuscripts submitted to Common Cause, and drafts of the World Constitution itself.  Robert Hutchins, Mortimer Adler, Robert Redfield, Richard McKeon, and other University of Chicago faculty and administrators were involved in the effort. The re-housed records also incorporate additional materials not included in the original finding aid.

Stephen A. Douglas Papers available for research

Stephen A. Douglas

Stephen A. Douglas

The Stephen A. Douglas Papers are once again available for research.   The collection has been reprocessed to incorporate additional materials. Most of these additions were to Series II: Political, Series III: Personal, and Series IV: Oversize. There are also new Lincoln items within the collection. 

Feature Story Homer mystery script contest winner and results

By Alice Schreyer, Assistant University Librarian for Humanities, Social Sciences, & Special Collections and Curator of Rare Books

Daniele Metilli, an Italian computer engineer and software developer, is the prize winner of a contest to identify the script used for handwritten annotations in a rare 1504 Venice edition of Homer’s Odyssey in Greek, held by the University of Chicago Library. The contest featured a $1000 prize for the first person to identify the script, provide evidence to support the conclusion, and execute a translation of selected portions of the mysterious marginalia. Coordinated by the Library’s Special Collections Research Center, the contest was sponsored by M.C. Lang, who donated his extensive Homer collection to the University of Chicago in 2007.

Mr. Metilli is currently enrolled in a digital humanities course and aiming for a career in libraries and archives. Working with Giula Accetta, a colleague who is proficient in contemporary Italian stenography and fluent in French, Mr. Metilli identified the mystery script correctly as the system of tachygraphy invented by Jean Coulon de Thévénot in the late 18th century.

Two runners-up reached the same, correct conclusion: Vanya Visnjic, a PhD student in classics at Princeton University with an interest in cryptography was the second contestant to identify the script and provide translations. Gallagher Flinn, PhD student in linguistics at the University of Chicago, also submitted correct identification and translations.

Based on the mix of French words with the script and a legible date of April 25, 1854, Mr. Metilli and Ms. Accetta began with the assumption that it was a system of French stenography in use in the mid-19th century.

Two images showing the mystery script. One illustrates how French and shorthand notations are mixed together in the annotations, the other shows the date of April 25, 1854 written in French in the margin.

At left: Mixture of French and shorthand notations. At right: Date written in the margin.

After rejecting several 19th-century French stenographic systems, they found a chart comparing one of them to the “tachygraphie” system invented by Jean Coulon de Thévenot (1754-1813) and published in Méthode tachygraphique, ou l’art d’écrire aussi vite que la parole (1789). They found an 1819 edition revised by a professor of stenography, N. Patey, online and, armed with two contemporary French translations of the Odyssey – one published in 1842, the other in 1854-66—began their work.  

Image showing examples of stenography and tachygraphy to compare the two shorthand systems.

Excerpt from a table comparing stenography and tachygraphy.

In Thévenot’s system, inspired by the shorthand system of Tironian notes that are said to have been invented by Cicero’s scribe and used into the Middle Ages, “every consonant and vowel has a starting shape, and they combine together to form new shapes representing syllables,” Mr. Metilli writes. “The vertical alignment is especially important, as the position of a letter above or below the line, or even the length of a letter segment can change the value of the grapheme. This explains why most notes in the Odyssey shorthand are underlined, the line being key to the transcription.”

Below are two examples of the translations submitted by Mr. Metilli and Ms. Accetta, together with their explanation of the methodology they used:

    

An image of the shorthand note that turned out to read “l’enfanta”

L’enfanta

“The note seems to refer to the underlined verb τέκεν, which is on the same line and can be rendered in French as enfanta, ‘gave birth.’ We immediately recognized the last two letters of the word as the syllables fan-ta. We then identified the first syllable as an l and the second as an an, representing the French phonetic value for en. The word can thus be transcribed as l’enfanta, meaning ‘she gave birth to him.’”

An image of the note that turned out to read que recherchaient tous les princes dans les entours” together with the letter-by-letter deciphering.

“K-R-CHAI-R-CHAI-TOU-LAI-PRAIN-S-DAN-L-AN-TOU-R-S, or “que recherchaient tous les princes dans les entours”

 “This note is on the same line as the underlined Greek sentence τὴν πάντες μνώοντο περικτίται, meaning ‘whom all the neighboring princes wooed,’ Using the table provided by Patey we could identify all the shorthand letters: The sentence clearly reads ‘que recherchaient tous les princes dans les entours,’ which is an exact French translation of the Greek words. This is our best match for now and it gives us the certainty that the method we employed is correct.”

Mr. Metilli and Ms. Accetta are continuing to work on the annotations, hoping to discover some clues to the mystery of the author or an explanation for why they only exist in book 11 of the Odyssey.  Mr. Metilli is posting and updating his report on his website.

Most projects that use rare books, archives, or manuscripts from the Special Collections Research Center’s collections do not generate such worldwide excitement, but each one contributes to learning and scholarship. M.C. Lang donated his Homer collection to the University of Chicago because he wanted it to be used by students and researchers.  A group of graduate students and faculty members produced a catalogue of the collection that formed the basis for an exhibition, now available online. Their work illustrates the potential of this collection and many others in Special Collections.

As Mr. Metilli observed, social media and electronic resources made it possible for him “to identify the shorthand and translate the first fragments in a few hours on a Thursday night. If I didn’t have access to online sources such as Google Books, the Greek Word Study Tool of the Perseus Digital Library, and the French corpora of the CNRTL, I probably wouldn’t have won. What great times we live in!” It was also, for him, another confirmation of his desire to work in libraries or archives. “Where else would I find such wonderful mysteries to solve?” he wrote.

Mr. Metilli, Mr. Visnjic, and Mr. Flinn all expressed appreciation to the donor for providing the opportunity to work on such a fun puzzle.  We hope you enjoyed the puzzle, too!   

 

Contest Closed: mystery script identified in rare edition of Homer’s Odyssey

File_2382A researcher has identified the script used for annotations in the 1504 edition of Homer’s Odyssey held by University of Chicago Library. We will announce the results in a few days.

Thanks to all the linguists, classicists, and other amateur detectives who responded to our call for assistance. We hope you enjoyed working on the puzzle.

Identify mystery text, win $1000

Example of Mystery Text

Example of Mystery Text

Calling all historians of cryptography and stenography, Sherlockians (see “The Dancing Men”), and other amateur detectives!  The collection of Homer editions in the Special Collections Research Center – the  Bibliotheca Homerica Langiana(BHL) – includes a copy of the rare 1504 edition of Homer’s Odyssey that contains, in Book 11 (narrating Odysseus’s journey into Hades) handwritten annotations in a strange and as-yet unidentified script.  This marginalia appears only in the pages of Book 11 of the Odyssey; nowhere else in the volume.  Although the donor of the BHL is suspicious that this odd script is a form of 19th-century shorthand (likely French), he acknowledges that this hypothesis remains unsupported by any evidence offered to date.

The donor of the BHL is offering a prize of $1,000 to the first person who identifies the script, provides evidence to support the conclusion, and executes a translation of selected portions of the mysterious marginalia.  In addition to the photographs in this post, the volume is available to consult in person in the Special Collections reading room.  Please visit the Special Collections website for information about requesting items to get started. The contest is open to all, regardless of University of Chicago affiliation. Please direct submissions to the contest, or questions, to Alice Schreyer, Assistant University Librarian, Humanities and Social Sciences and Rare Books Curator, or Catherine Uecker, Rare Books Librarian.

Mystery Text

Mystery Text

Homer. Odysseia. Venice: Aldus, 1504. PA4018.A2 1504 vol. 2

 

Free Public Lecture in Honor of “Imaging/Imagining” Exhibition

Join us for a special event in celebration of our recent exhibitionimaging2 “Imaging/Imagining the Human Body in Anatomical Representation” 

Thursday, April 17th at 5pm

Lecture: “Seeing Into and Seeing Through: The Promise and Peril of Imaging”
Regenstein Library, The University of Chicago, 1100 E. 57th Street, room 122

Dr. Richard B. Gunderman, author of X-Ray Vision: The Evolution of Medical Imaging and its Human Significance, will explore the exhibition’s themes in a free public lecture. Dr. Gunderman is Professor of Radiology, Pediatrics, Medical Education, Philosophy, Liberal Arts, and Philanthropy, and Vice Chair of Radiology at Indiana University.

imaging4

Free. Seating will be available on a first come, first served basis.
Gallery will be open immediately after for viewing.