People Watch Dr. Ada Palmer discuss a Renaissance astronomy text in Special Collections

Dr. Ada Palmer, Assistant Professor in the Department of History and the College at the University of Chicago, went live on Facebook to teach viewers about a Renaissance astronomy text in the Special Collections Research Center. The book, a 1605 imprint of a work by Giovanni Paolo Gallucci, is a fascinating example of an author navigating the political landscape of his time – should he write openly about his scientific theories, or play it safe and write about the tools used to study astronomy? Dr. Palmer led a team of graduate students curating the Special Collections Research Center’s newest gallery exhibition: Tensions in Renaissance Cities, open March 27-June 9, 2017.

This video is one in a series of videos of UChicago faculty discussing their favorite items in the Special Collections Research Center. See Dr. Mindy Schwartz describe a 19th-century surgical kit.

Dr. Ada Palmer discusses a Renaissance astronomy text in the Special Collections Research Center. #facultyfavorites #bookhistory #astronomy #historyofscience

Posted by University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center on Monday, March 13, 2017

 

Feature Story Nobel laureate Saul Bellow’s papers open for research

Materials provide look into author’s life, creative process

A carbon copy of a typescript fragment of "The Adventures of Augie March"

A carbon copy of a typescript fragment of “The Adventures of Augie March,” ca. 1952-53, titled “The Life of Augie March Among the Machiavellians.” (Courtesy of Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library)

The largest collection of Nobel laureate Saul Bellow’s personal papers is now open for research at the University of Chicago Library, documenting his creative process and literary fame, as well as his wide-ranging professional relationships.

Saul Bellow painting

Photo of painting by Filippo Carosi Martinozzi, 1986, courtesy of Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library

Bellow, X’39, who spent three decades as a professor at UChicago, left a collection that extends 141 linear feet filling 254 boxes. It includes correspondence with writers such as Ralph Ellison and Philip Roth, manuscripts that reveal his writing process including a series of drafts of The Adventures of Augie March, and personal items such as a Rolodex and letters from U.S. presidents.

The opening of the archives is the culmination of an extensive effort by the Library’s Special Collections Research Center to organize the documents and catalogue them in a Guide to the Saul Bellow Papers, 1926-2015. The archival work, which was supported by a gift from Robert Nelson, AM’64, and Carolyn Nelson, AM’64, PhD’67, greatly increases scholars’ ability to discover materials in the collection online.

“Opening up the Bellow papers will provide generations of scholars with the materials they need to develop new insights into Saul Bellow and 20th-century American history and culture,” said Brenda Johnson, Library director and University librarian. “We are deeply grateful to Robert Nelson and Carolyn Nelson for their generous support of the processing and preservation of this collection.”

A prolific writer, Bellow’s extensive revision process is manifest in the collection in numerous drafts of each of his best-known novels, including Herzog, Humboldt’s Gift and The Adventures of Augie March. Bellow’s long list of literary accolades include the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Medal of Arts and the National Book Award for Fiction.

Ralph Ellison letter to Saul Bellow

Saul Bellow lived with Ralph Ellison during the late 1950s in an upstate New York fixer-upper. In this May 1959 letter, Ellison writes Bellow about needed repairs to their house as well as praising Bellow’s “Henderson the Rain King,” which Ellison claims ‘threw some real whiskey in the placid water of the literary well.’ (Courtesy of Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library)

“The Saul Bellow Papers offer a compelling view of modern American literature,” said Daniel Meyer, director of the Special Collections Research Center and University archivist. “The collection offers scholars, students and other researchers fresh perspectives on Bellow’s impact on the 20th-century novel and his distinctive voice in literary criticism and cultural commentary.”

An educator and intellectual with broad ranging interests in art and culture, Bellow found a home for his pursuits at the University of Chicago. He taught in the John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought from 1962 to 1993, serving as chair from 1970 to 1976, and his experiences in Chicago and at the University are at the heart of much of his writing.

Equally important to the collection is the extraordinary range of his correspondence, which includes thousands of letters Bellow received or sent to fellow writers such as Samuel Beckett, Allen Ginsberg, Lillian Hellman, Norman Mailer, Arthur Miller and Joyce Carol Oates. The Special Collections Research Center’s wide array of related materials—from the archives of Bellow’s faculty colleagues to collections documenting 20th-century literary and cultural life in Chicago—also will help scholars to uncover vital connections between Bellow and his contemporaries and his city.

Saul Bellow portrait

Saul Bellow portrait (Photo copyright Jill Krementz, 1976, courtesy of the Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library)

“Bellow was someone who thought deeply about current events and politics, the state of culture and the arts in the 20th century, and the role of the writer,” said Processing Archivist Ashley Gosselar, who reviewed and organized the collection and created the guide to its contents. “The correspondence demonstrates the way he sought to keep his finger on the pulse of America in the mid-20th century.”

Additional items in the Saul Bellow papers include personal ephemera, writings by others given to or collected by Bellow, writings about Bellow’s life and work, administrative and teaching materials from the University of Chicago and Boston University, awards, photographs and audio recordings, artwork, broadsides and posters. Materials date between 1926 and 2015, with the majority produced between 1940 and 2004.

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16 scholars awarded Platzman fellowships in Special Collections

Sixteen visiting scholars have been awarded Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowships for 2017.  The Platzman Fellowships support visiting researchers whose work requires on-site consultation of Special Collections, with priority given to beginning scholars.

This year’s Platzman Fellowship winners are drawn from twelve American and international universities, including scholars from Brazil, Italy, Argentina, and Great Britain, and include a researcher from the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress as well as an independent scholar.

The Platzman Fellowship research projects represent the broad range of sources available in Special Collections.  Topics include women editors of Shakespeare; 18th-century keyboard music in the Americas; child migration and international law; 1960s student protests for racial equality; European émigré influences on consumerism; and medicine and culture among indigenous peoples of the Americas.

The Platzman Fellowships were established through a bequest of George W. Platzman (1920-2008), Professor in Geophysical Sciences.  They are named in memory of George’s brother Robert Platzman (1918-1973), Professor of Chemistry and Physics. Further information is available on the Special Collections website.


2017 Robert L. Platzman Fellows

Chris Babits (PhD Candidate, University of Texas-Austin) “To Cure a Sinful Nation: A Cultural History of Conversion Therapy and the Making of Modern America, 1930 to the Present Day”

Nicholas Barron (PhD Candidate, University of New Mexico) “Applying Anthropology, Assembling Indigenous Community: The Coproduction of Applied Anthropology and the Pascua Yaqui Indian Tribe”

Joe Block (PhD Candidate, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) “The Intellectual Origins of African American-Jewish Relations, 1825-1927”

Carlos Fabian Campos (PhD candidate, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Argentina) “Eighteenth Century Keyboard Music in the Americas: Manuscript Sources from Joseph Regenstein Library (Chicago University)”

James Cetkovski (PhD candidate, New College, Oxford, England) “Literature and Social Thought”

Eddie Cole (Assistant Professor, College of William & Mary) “Careful Consideration: College Presidents and Student Protests for Racial Equality, 1960-1964”

Vicente Gil da Silva (PhD candidate, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) “Creating a New Model of Intellectual: The Role of Cadernos Brasileiros and the CCF in Brazil”

Eric Lindstrom (Independent scholar, Olympia, Washington) “The Constant Geologist: J Harlen Bretz”

Amy Lonetree (Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz) “Visualizing Native American Survivance: A Photographic History of the Ho-Chunk Nation, 1879-1960”

Joseph Malherek (Jameson Fellow, Kluge Center, Library of Congress) “From Bauhaus to Maxwell House: Emigres and the Making of American Consumer Culture, 1933-1976”

Joshua Mentanko (PhD candidate, Yale University) “Traditional Medicine in Modern Mexico: Indigenous and Technopolitics since 1940”

Yukako Otori (PhD candidate, Harvard University) “Disposable Subjects: Child Migration, International Law, and US Immigration Policy

Angelica Vomera (PhD candidate, Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy) “I-Tn MS T.III.2:  Fragments for a Cultural History between Italy and France in the age of the Great Schism

Mollie Yarn (PhD candidate, University of Cambridge, England) “Women Editors of Shakespeare and the Legacy of the Domestic Text”

Exhibits 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.

Ronald H. Coase Papers

The Ronald H. Coase papers are ready for use at the Special Collections Research Center. The Nobel Prize winning economist taught at the Law School from 1964 until 1982, where he edited the Journal of Law and Economics. Mr. Coase’s papers on social costs, broadcasting regulation, and the nature of the firm were fundamental to the field of Law and Economics. A detailed finding aid provides access to the papers.

 

Exhibits Feature Story 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.

Applications open for 2017 Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowship Program

Robert Platzman

Robert Platzman in 1941

The University of Chicago Library invites applications for short-term research fellowships for the summer of 2017. 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. Support for beginning scholars is a priority of the program. Applications in the fields of late nineteenth- or early twentieth-century physics or physical chemistry, or nineteenth-century classical opera, will receive special consideration.

Awards will be made based on the applicant’s ability to complete the proposed on-site research successfully within the timeframe of the fellowship.  Applicants should explain why the project cannot be conducted without on-site access to the original materials and the extent to which University of Chicago Library collections are central to the research.  Up to $3,000 of support will be awarded to help cover estimated travel, living, and research expenses.  Applications from women, minorities, and persons with disabilities are encouraged.

The deadline for applications is February 17, 2017.  Notice of awards will be made by March 20, 2017, for use between June 1, 2017, and September 29, 2017.

Applicants must provide the following information:

  • A cover letter (not to exceed one page) including the project title; a brief summary; estimated dates of on-site research; and a budget for travel, living, and research expenses during the period of on-site research
  • A research proposal not to exceed three double-spaced pages. Applicants should include references to specific archival finding aids and catalog records of particular relevance to their proposed project whenever possible.
  • A curriculum vitae of no longer than two pages
  • Two letters of support from academic or other scholars. References may be sent with the application or separately.

Submit application in one electronic file to: scrcfellowship@lib.uchicago.edu

Letters of reference in electronic form are preferred; print letters of reference can be sent to:

Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowships
Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library
1100 E. 57th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

For additional information contact:
Daniel Meyer, Director, Special Collections Research Center

For additional background on the Platzman Fellowship, and to see a list of last year’s recipients please see our website: http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/scrc/about/platzmanfellowships.html

Special Collections Closed Nov. 24-27

Special Collections Research CenterThe Special Collections Research Center will be closed November 24-27 in observation of the Thanksgiving holiday. We will resume our normal hours on Monday, November 28.

Special Collections Closing at 4:45 Nov. 2

An event in the Special Collections Research Center exhibition gallery (Photo by Jason Smith)

An event in the Special Collections Research Center exhibition gallery (Photo by Jason Smith)

The Special Collections Research Center will close at 4:45 on November 2 for a special event and will not have extended hours that evening. We will resume normal hours on November 3.

An online trove of Biblical manuscripts

The digitization of the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection

An extraordinary collection of 68 New Testament and other Biblical manuscripts dating from the fourth to the twentieth centuries has been digitized and made available for study online. This fall, the University of Chicago Library celebrates the completion of a website (goodspeed.lib.uchicago.edu) featuring digital facsimiles of rare and delicate Greek, Syriac, Ethiopic, Armenian, Arabic, and Latin manuscripts from the Edgar J. Goodspeed Manuscript Collection in the Special Collections Research Center.  This premier collection holds great artistic, historical, and textual significance for scholars.

Eusebius of Caesarea, letter to Carpianus

Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, gms-1017-007, Eusebius of Caesarea, letter to Carpianus. Gospels in Armenian. (Aleppo Gospels). Aleppo, Syria (Berea), 1624.

The inspiration for the digitization project came from faculty working in a range of disciplines from religious studies to art history and classics.  All had an interest in bringing digitized images of manuscripts into the classroom and onto the laptops of students and faculty.  An initial grant from the University of Chicago Provost’s Program for Academic Technology Innovation and an award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grants for Libraries helped to fund the early years of the project.

Completion of the digitization project was the result of a successful collaboration across Library units including the Digital Library Development Center, Special Collections Research Center, Preservation Department, and Cataloging Department.  Specialists in the Library overcame numerous challenges over the course of the digitization process.  For example, many of the manuscripts are bound in vellum or leather with parchment text pages that are proteinaceous, causing the material to cockle and stiffen over the centuries.  Others feature extraordinary illustrations—from decorative headpieces and initials to full-page images—on media that needed to be handled with the utmost care to prevent flaking or crumbling.

The faithfully photographed works are represented online by high-resolution 24-bit color images that researchers can view in tremendous detail using the zooming capability of the web interface. In addition, Special Collections staff provided detailed metadata about each manuscript’s intellectual content together with descriptions of miniatures, watermarks, and heraldic devices.  This enables both general and advanced users of all disciplines to search and browse the online collection using a wide range of subject headings, descriptive terms, and manuscript features.

Visit goodspeed.lib.uchicago.edu to see the Goodspeed Manuscripts online.

Exhibits 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.

SCRC Request System Temporarily Down September 20

Resources on display in the Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery

Resources on display in the Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery

The ability to request materials from the Special Collections Research Center through our electronic request system will be temporarily unavailable for three hours on the morning of September 20to allow for a system upgrade. The system will be unavailable from 7am CDT – 10:0am CDT.  We regret the inconvenience.

Exhibits 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.

 

SCRC Closed September 5 for Labor Day

The Special Collections Research Center will be closed on Monday, September 5, in observation of Labor Day. We will resume our usual hours on Tuesday, September 6.

SCRC Will Open at 10:30am August 25

The Special Collections Research Center will open at 10:30 am on Thursday, August 25, in order to accommodate activities for Library Staff Day. We regret any inconvenience. We will resume our usual 9:00am-4:45pm hours on Friday, August 26.

SCRC Request Function Temporarily Down August 16, 7am-10am

The ability to request materials from the Special Collections Research Center through our electronic request system will be temporarily unavailable for three hours on the morning of August 16 to allow for a system upgrade. The system will be unavailable from 7am CDT – 10:0am CDT.  We regret the inconvenience.

Exhibits Feature Story 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.

Changes in Special Collections hours

Effective June 21, 2016, the Special Collections Research Center will move from being open Saturday mornings to being open until 6:00 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings when classes are in session.  This change in hours will allow Special Collections to better serve University of Chicago students, faculty, and staff, and to make the best use of available staff hours. The Special Collections reading room will close at 5:45pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The latest time for submitting new item requests daily remains 4:15pm, Monday-Friday. The exhibit gallery will no longer be open on Saturday mornings, but gallery hours are being extended on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings until 5:45pm. Please contact us with any questions you may have.

Special Collections Research Center

SCRC Closed May 30

Memorial Tablet honoring fallen University of Chicago soldiers from World War IThe Special Collections Research Center will be closed on Monday, May 30, for Memorial Day. We will resume our regular hours at 9:00am on Tuesday, May 30.

The Art and Adventuresome Life of Cyrus LeRoy Baldridge, PhB 1911

Saturday, June 4, 2016
11 a.m. – 12 noon
Special Collections Research Center Classroom
The Joseph Regenstein Library
1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL

At this discussion, Jay Mulberry, AB’63, looks toward a summer Special Collections Research Center exhibition he will co-curate on the Art of Cyrus LeRoy Baldridge. Many of Baldridge’s fine book illustrations from World War I, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East are housed in the Smart Museum.

SCRC Closing Early on March 29

The Special Collections Research Center will close at 3:00 on Tuesday, March 29, due to a special event taking place in our space. We will resume our normal hours of 9:00-4:45 on March 30.

2016 Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowships Awarded

Robert Platzman

Robert Platzman in 1941

The Special Collections Research Center is pleased to announce the recipients of the Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowships for 2016.

Established through a bequest of George W. Platzman (1920-2008), Professor in Geophysical Sciences, the research fellowships are named in memory of George’s brother Robert Platzman (1918-1973), Professor of Chemistry and Physics and a member of the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago during World War II.

The annual Platzman Fellowships provide funds for visiting researchers whose projects require on-site consultation of University of Chicago Library collections, primarily but not exclusively materials in Special Collections, with priority given to beginning scholars. Additional information on the Platzman Fellowship program is available on the Special Collections web site: http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/scrc/about/platzmanfellowships.html

2016 Robert L. Platzman Fellows

Kate Bellamy
PhD candidate, Centre for Linguistics, Leiden University, Netherlands
Consulting the papers of Paul Friedrich and Norman McQuown
“Rediscovering Lost Voices: Two Approaches to Indigenous Literacy in Purépecha (Mexico)”

Lucie Claire
Maître de conferences, UFR des lettres, Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens, France
Consulting editions of works of Marc-Antoine Muret in the rare book holdings
“The American Destiny of the Humanist Marc-Antoine Muret (1526-1585)”

Azra Dawood
PhD Candidate, History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture and Art, Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Consulting the records of the University of Chicago Department of Buildings and Grounds and the papers of Harold H. Swift, Julius Rosenwald, Robert M. Hutchins, and others
“John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and the Architecture of Protestant Internationalism (1919-1946).”

Raquel Escobar
PhD candidate, History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Consulting records of the American Indian Chicago Conference in the Native American Educational Service records, and the papers of Robert Redfield, Sol Tax, and others
“Reconcile the Indian, Reconcile the Nation: Indigenismo, the Nation, and Transnational Networks of the Inter-American Indian Institute”

Louis Fletcher
PhD candidate, School of Social & Political Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Consulting the records of the Social Science Research Committee and the papers of Quincy Wright, Charles E. Merriam, and Beardsley Ruml
“A Genealogy of Democratic Peace”

Ilnyun Kim
PhD candidate, History, Ohio State University
Consulting the records of the International Association for Cultural Freedom
“The Liberal Persuasion: The Congress for Cultural Freedom and the Intellectual Cold War in the World, 1950-1967”

Paul Putz
PhD candidate, History, Baylor University
Consulting the papers of Amos Alonzo Stagg and related archival collections
“Creating the Christian Athlete in the Twentieth-Century United States”

Aulii Silva
PhD candidate, Educational Foundations, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Consulting the papers of Henry Northrup Castle
“Worth Another Look: A Native Hawaiian Review of the Henry N. Castle Papers”

John Suval
Ph.D. candidate, History, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Consulting the papers of Stephen A. Douglas
“Dangerous Ground: Squatters, Statesmen, and the Rupture of American Democracy, 1830-1860”

Exhibits Feature Story 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

Platzman Fellows at Work: Finding Manuel

This post is written by 2015 Platzman Research Fellow Oenone Kubie. Kubie is a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford. She visited SCRC this past summer to consult the papers of Ernest Burgess, Grace and Edith Abbott, Julius Rosenwald, Robert Park, and others, for a study of “Boys’ Street Culture in Chicago, 1900-1929.” Below is her reflection on her time using some of these collections and their relation to her dissertation. To apply for this year’s Platzman Fellowship, apply by February 15.

On the face of it, one would probably expect the source base for my project, Boys’ Street Culture in Early Twentieth Century Chicago, to be extremely limited. Piecing together and examining the experiences and subcultures of Chicago’s working-class and immigrant boys of a century ago may be interesting, but surely this subclass of an already disadvantaged class must be all but invisible in the archives. After all, one must often read archival material against the grain to conduct a history of the childhood of even the wealthiest and most affluent families. It is lucky for me, then, that I am far from the first scholar to be interested in the lives of early twentieth century Chicago’s boys.

The archives at the Regenstein Library are full of the research and reports conducted by Chicago School sociologists, much of it regarding the lives of working class and immigrant children. The favoured method of research, at least by the 1920s, was the life history. Life histories were biographies of individual cases from which, scholars hoped, broad trends could be identified. They were collected either through interviews or by asking individuals to write their own autobiographies, usually with the aid of prompt questions. Of course, these sources come with a whole host of methodological problems – from the power relations of the interviewer and subject to the typicality of the boys’ lives – all of which are compounded by the fact that the subjects are either children or they are adults reminiscing about a childhood ten, twenty, or more years ago. Nonetheless, used critically and in conjunction with other sources, these life histories are undeniably among the most useful sources for projects like mine. The stories they tell are rich with detail and are moving, captivating, and even amusing.

Here let us look briefly at just one life history: the story of a nine year old Mexican-American boy, growing up in Chicago in the late 1920s and early 1930s.[1] Manuel (almost certainly not his real name) was the child to Mexican immigrants. He was born in 1924 and moved to Chicago at the age of 2. In Chicago, Manuel and his family moved every couple of years between different neighbourhoods. Firstly they moved to Brighton Park, then when Manuel was four, to Little Village, two years later they returned to Brighton Park and, three years after that (1933), to the boundary between Pilsen and Little Italy. These areas now all have large Mexican-American communities, and are still known as common ports of entry to immigrants from Mexico.

Manuel’s story attests to what life was like as a young Mexican-American in Chicago in the early twentieth century. Manuel thought of himself as different to both the “white” and the “colored” boys: a distinction both groups seemed keen to enforce. When Manuel and his family moved to Little Village, Manuel remembered that he was one of very few Mexican boys in the neighbourhood at that time. He recalls that he was lonely, the white boys not allowing him to play with them. Later, he would go to the Foster School in Little Italy where, Manuel claimed, the Mexican boys had to group together or they risked being beaten by the African-American boys. Manuel wrote of his equal dislike of the black children saying that, although he occasionally played with some, they were mean and lied a lot. On the other hand, Manuel dreamt of becoming a white boy: “Sometimes I even don’t like myself. I would like to be a white boy and look like Ken Maynard”. Maynard came from champion rodeo riding to become one of the most popular actors in early the Westerns of the twenties and thirties. To Manuel, and others, he symbolised adventure, virile masculinity, but also desirable whiteness which Manuel consciously contrasted to his own, Mexican heritage.

Drawing by Manuel

Drawings by Manuel, from Ernest Burgess Papers, Special Collections Research Center

Manuel wrote of his relationship with his Mexican heritage by talking of his Spanish-speaking parents. He could speak, read and write Spanish but, despite his mother and father often playing them, Manuel knew no Mexican songs. Instead, he preferred songs such as ‘Shuffle off to Buffalo’ (the soundtrack to 42nd Street, a popular musical from 1933). Manuel was particularly scathing of his mother who spoke no English: “My mother knows nothing about American things. She only knows about Mexico. I know more about things than she does”. Despite this, Manuel is keen to follow the career his parents want for him and to become an artist. His story ends with a couple of drawings, one of an ‘Indian’ and one of a sailor.

Manuel’s life history was probably taken in 1933 or 1934. What became of Manuel afterwards, I don’t know, however, he would have turned 18 in the summer of 1942 and, thus, would probably have been drafted into the US Armed Forces. This life history is just one of hundreds the Chicago School sociologists took in the twenties and thirties although one from just a handful of Mexican-American boys asked to participate. Nonetheless, Manuel’s story demonstrates the capacity these histories have to share the experiences of those whose voices are typically missing in the historical record. We can get a glimpse of Manuel’s life, his relationships, his struggles and his hopes.

I’m excited to look over the material I have gathered during my summer at the University of Chicago and am grateful to the Special Collections at the Regenstein Library for funding my trip through the Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowship and also to the staff for the help they offered me while I was visiting the archives.

[1] ‘Case no. A by Edward M. Haddon’, Burgess, Ernest, Papers, [Box 134, folder 4], Special Collections Research Centre, University of Chicago Library

SCRC Will Be Closed Monday, January 18th

The Special Collections Research Center will be closed on Monday, January 18, in observation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Please note that we will open at 10:30am on Tuesday, January 19.  For more information please see our hours page.