Archive for December, 2016

19
Dec

Beerbohm collection

   Posted by: rring    in Gifts, oppotunities for research

3This just in!

Over 200 volumes from the house collection of Watkinson Trustee (and currently its chair) Hugh Macgill, who has served on the Board since 1992. The bulk of the collection comprises works by and about Max Beerbohm (born Henry Maximilian Beerbohm, 1872-1956), a well-known caricaturist, essayist, and critic (see a recent New Yorker article). Among these are first and early editions of Beerbohm’s most famous works, which include many of his caricatures, a run of the Yellow Book, editions of his published letters and biographies.

1A small collection of Horatio Alger’s works are also part of the gift, which will join our growing collection of juvenile literature. I particularly love covers like this one, which tell the entire plot in one image.

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15
Dec

Asimov’s SF

   Posted by: rring    in Gifts, Interns, oppotunities for research, students

[Posted by Ashley Esposito, a graduate student in American Studies doing an internship in the Watkinson]

Leigh Couch Collection in progress…

asimov_coversAs my time with this collection draws to a close, I was able to take a look at another interesting science fiction magazine. Issac Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine was first published in Spring 1977 and makes the short list of SciFi Magazines still published today.  Although it has changed publishing schedules over the years, since 2004 IASF has settled on ten issues per year.  In November of 1992 the magazine officially shortened its title to Asimov’s Science Fiction.  It currently offers both digital and paper subscriptions.

The image (left) shows the evolution of the covers. You can see the changes in the font and name size. The Leigh Couch Collection includes copies of the magazine from 1979 to early 1992–or 185 of 444 originally issued. The picture of the bindings shows a clear progression of the front, style and colors used in the printing process.

Over the course of exploring this collection I have observed more things that I have time to write about.  A few things that I found so interesting was overall trends thoughout the entire collection that helps fit into the greater narrative of science fiction and society.  Including but not limted to shared authors, printing challenges, price changes and content struggles. This collection is a fantasic opportunity waiting for researchers to find their own path and discover the wonder.

asimov_bindingsasimov_anniversary_cover

15
Dec

Majestic 12!

   Posted by: rring    in Classes, exhibitions, students

32Last night’s gala opening of Majestic 12 was a great success!

More than 60 people came from as far as 100 miles away to attend the opening of our sixth annual showcase of student exhibitions, which is the product of American Studies 835, my Fall museum studies course.

The students installed a sample of their items in one case (each) in the reading room, which will remain up until June 30, 2017. Their full exhibitions are online as well, and links to all of the shows are HERE.

And here is a fuller album of photos on Flickr.

Copies of the booklet we published are available–please e-mail the Head Curator.

Many thanks to the students for all of their hard work this semester!

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[Posted by Jennifer Sharp M’11, a Project Archivist with the Watkinson Library]

adviceOne of the pieces in the Charles P. Wells collection that I enjoyed finding is a copybook, owned by Susanna Olmsted. The poem, written by Esther Lewis, seems to have been written out by Susanna’s friend, E.Benton, presumably prior to Susanna’s marriage.

The first page reads:

Advice to a Lady lately Married

Dear Peggy since the single State / You’ve left & chose yourself a Mate / Since metamorphos’d to a Wife / And Bliss or Woe’s insur’d for Life

A friendly Muse the way would show / To gain the Bliss & miss the Woe. / But first of all I must suppose / You,ve with mature reflection chose /

And this premis’d I think you may / Here find to married Bliss the way. / Small is the province of a Wife / And narrow is her Sphere in Life /

Within that Sphere to move aright / Should be her principal Delight. / To guide the House with prudent ease / And properly to spend & spare /

To make her Husband bless the Day / He gave his Liberty away.

susannaThe final page is where we find out the book was owned by Susanna. I spent several hours trying to connect Susanna Olmsted with the Wells family, but wasn’t able to do so. I may keep trying! There were few enough families in Hartford when this was written (1775), that I’m sure we have a connection in a ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon’ sort of way. This is my final post about the collection. I have arranged it all, and the finding aid is in progress. I hope you will visit the Watkinson and use the collection. Thank you for reading!

[Posted by Ashley Esposito, a graduate student in American Studies doing an internship in the Watkinson]

F&SF1Leigh Couch Collection in progress…

This week I was able to focus on The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.  Beginning its publishing in October 1949, Fantasy, persists to this day in print. Yes, you read that correctly, F&SF is still printed on paper as a digest style magazine. You can subscribe for about $36.97 for 6 issues per year.  Between Oct 1949 and Dec 2016, F&SF has published 723 volumes.  Starting in 2010, F&SF converted its publishing schedule to bi-monthly with continued success and circulation.

The six-cover progression seen to the left shows the growth of the magazine over the years while it sought to define its brand, and the one below shows the 30th anniversary issue that lists on its cover the authors that are included in that 320-page edition.F&SF4

At first the inventory of Fantasy and Science Fiction was so overwhelming. So many volumes. Over 450 volumes are in the collection between 1951 and 1994. It was truly amazing to see the progression of the covers, printing, binding and issue prices. As part of the inventory process a listing of all volumes held, original volumes held is compared to the total number of volumes originally issued. This process was a labor of love.  I have truly found a worthwhile research opportunity with the Leigh Couch collection.

 

[Posted by Jennifer Sharp M’11, a Project Archivist with the Watkinson Library]

dedicationA common practice in the nineteenth century was to maintain a friendship album. Though mostly kept by women, entries were often from both men and women. The albums contained poems and stories, and served a purpose similar to a high school yearbook or a Facebook wall.

Lucy Strong was the sister of Charles Wells’ wife, Jane Naomi (Strong) Wells. As we can tell from the album’s dedication, in 1832 Lucy attended (or perhaps just visited) Wesleyan Academy, now Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Wilbraham, Massachusetts.

She received entries from several men there, including one from Columbia, South Carolina, and another from New Hartford, Connecticut.

While often the entries were just text, some, such as this entry from Clarissa Talmage, were far more intricate.

Though water damaged, the pages all remain legible. It’s great to have this example of a nineteenth century custom in the collection.

*I have learned from online histories of Wilbraham & Monson that Wesleyan Academy was the first co-ed boarding school in the country. The wording in the dedication makes it sound like Lucy was a student there, but in my quick search I was unable to find a date for co-education.

 

talmagenew_hartfords_carolina

[Posted by Jennifer Sharp M’11, a Project Archivist with the Watkinson Library]

When Charles P. Wells died, it was reported in Hartford’s two prominent daily newspapers. The Hartford Daily Times described his character as “peculiarly self-contained and reserved.” Similarly, the Hartford Daily Courant wrote that “Partaking largely of the Quaker character of his father, he led a quiet, undemonstrative life, and in some sort the world went by him.”

Charles P. Wells’ collection, with its many pages of Bible study notes, does suggest that quiet study was a significant part of his day-to-day life. There are other pieces in the collection, though, that provide a glimpse of a more playful side.

front_streetWhile in his early 20s, Wells entered into several “agreements” with friends. One, signed with his friend John Corning, was that neither man would go to Hartford’s Front Street for a month. Another was that Wells and a friend would not “associate with any young woman damsel or girl” for one year.

young womanBy far, the most intricate of these was the Hebedatombobyboosthimout Club (no, I don’t know how you pronounce that). The initial club document I found is three handwritten pages, in small script, with little space between the lines. Additionally, there is a Book of Record. At the end of the first entry, written in pencil (in a different hand), is a list of the four members: Charles Stanton, L.H. Goodwin, Charles Wells, and John Corning.

The document and the record book are not easy reading. But they are certainly among the more unique items in the Wells collection. I encourage you to visit the Watkinson and take a look.

club 1 club 2 club 3