Archive for the ‘New acquisition’ Category

25
Aug

The 1891 Football Team–newly acquired!

   Posted by: rring

Just acquired for the College Archives from an online estate auction in Pueblo, Colorado–a postcard photo of the 1891 Trinity football team! For those who want to know who is pictured, there is a team photo with names in the 1892 IVY (opposite page 100), which can be found online here, or you can visit the Watkinson to see a physical copy!

[This post was contributed by Richard Mammana, archivist for the Living Church Foundation, founder and director of Project Canterbury, and a member of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences]

The Watkinson Library at Trinity College recently acquired the intact personal library of Charles Hayden Proctor (January 11, 1850-June 25, 1890). Proctor was a Trinity alumnus (B.A. 1873) who had been graduated from the Episcopal Academy at Cheshire in 1869. He went on to receive his M.A. at Berkeley Divinity School (then in Middletown) in 1876. He was ordained to the diaconate in the Episcopal Church in 1876 by the Bishop of Connecticut, and then to the priesthood in 1877. Proctor had a relatively brief career in the church, dying at 40 after serving in a handful of cures: as a lay missionary in the Naugatuck River Valley; as the founding rector of St. James Church, New Bedford, Massachusetts (1878-1885); at Trinity Church, Pottsville, Pennsylvania (1885-1888); and finally as the third dean of Trinity Cathedral in Little Rock, Arkansas (1888-1890).

Proctor’s significance in Trinity history comes from his authorship of The Life of James Williams, Better Known as Professor Jim, for Half a Century Janitor of Trinity College (Hartford: Case, Lockwood and Brainard, 1873), a 79-page biography of the beloved “professor of dust and ashes” of the title—an African American who lived from c.1790 to 1878.

Williams was born to a free American father of African ancestry and a Creole mother in New York. He served as a seaman in the War of 1812, and had arrived in Hartford by 1821 when he was working at the City Hotel. Williams’s association with Trinity began as his domestic service in the household of the college’s founding president Bishop Thomas Church Brownell (1779-1865). As Professor Jim—by then “general factotum” of the college—he made farewell remarks to each graduating class from 1830 to 1874, receiving a gift of money or a valuable object each year, and then serving glasses of punch to the class. (It is from Professor Jim’s use of a lemon squeezer in preparing the punch that the elaborate Trinity traditions about fruit presses have emerged.) Trinity students took up a collection to buy Professor Jim a turkey each year at Christmas for four decades.

Proctor’s Life of James Williams was published by the foremost commercial press in Connecticut at the time, and its wide reach is attested by its presence in the private library of Mark Twain as well as a wide variety of public and academic collections still today.

Proctor’s library is significant in its own right because of its former owner’s work in chronicling an important chapter in Trinity College history. It is also notable for having remained undisturbed in the Proctor family home in Derby for more than 125 years since Proctor died in 1890. The ca. 400 volumes—most with their original owner’s bookplate—provide a fascinating look at the intellectual world of a late nineteenth-century Episcopal priest.

CURATOR’S NOTE: I would like to thank Dan and Denis (of John Bale Books in Waterbury, CT) for alerting me of the existence of this collection and working very hard to deliver it to Trinity College intact. Good booksellers make good libraries!

27
Jun

Comics collection!

   Posted by: rring

comics1comics2I am thrilled to announce the gift of a collection of comics, graphic novels, and comic book reference material by Marcus Leab, of Maple Grove, Minnesota.

Housed in 46 boxes (long and short–some shown here) and a few plastic bins, we estimate there are nearly 10,000 comics, 200+ graphic novels, and dozens of reference books. A full inventory will take some time to compile, but in general these date from the late 1980s to the present, and run the gamut of superhero and other series.

Many colleges and universities have acquired collections in this fascinating area of popular culture, which also include pulps (science fiction, horror, mystery, etc.) and zines (often produced out of fan culture). There are large collections at various universities–such as the University of Iowa, Indiana University, the University of Georgia, Brigham Young University, Duke, Brown, the University of Tulsa, Drew University, Southern Methodist University, Bowling Green University, and Texas A&M.

Here is Mr. Leab’s own account of his collection, along with a picture of him and his children:

For years in New York City, and later in Washington, Connecticut, I read Garfield, Bloom County, and other newspaper comic strips, but in May of 1988, my mother, Katharine Kyes Leab (editor of American Book Prices Current), and my father, Daniel Leab (Editor of Labor History and founder of American Communist History), bought me Action Comics 600. The issue, which had vibrant colors, huge action scenes, and interesting dialogue was quickly followed with Amazing Spider-Man 301. It was after those two issues that I was hooked. Soon I had a box at my local comic book shop (named “My Mother Threw Mine Away”) and I was collecting a dozen or more issues a week. Suddenly Batman, The Punisher, Doctor Strange, Checkmate, The X-Men, Spider-Man, and more were filling my imagination on a daily basis as I eagerly anticipated how their adventures would continue. My love of collecting was also bolstered by older sisters Abigail and Constance, who collected comics as well.

The main bulk of this collection is from the late 1980s to the present, but I also had some comics from the 1950s-70s that came to me after another collector came to speak to my parents about books and saw me reading comics.

“Hey, kid,” the man said. “Want to buy my collection off of me?”

I was intrigued. “How much?”

“Tell you what,” the man stated, “If you move it yourself, inventory it, and then give me a copy of that inventory…$100. What do you say?”

“DEAL!”

I moved three boxes of older comics that included classic Silver Surfer issues, an older Thor, and many other classic Marvel, DC, and independent books. A great deal.

As I grew older, I continued to collect DC and Marvel comics, but also started collecting some of the independent comics as well, such as Eastman & Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spawn by Todd McFarlane, and Kurt Busiek’s Astro City.

Now, as a father of two, I still love comics and have passed that love on to my kids, but how to manage the boxes became a challenge. A few months ago, as I was re-reading part of my collection, I noticed that some of the books had visibly aged. Since libraries are amazing at taking care of precious texts, and these comics were very precious to me; and since my mother had just donated some other material to Trinity, I thought the Watkinson Library would be the best place to send the collection so it would be cared for. I realized that comics are one of the many reflections of our world & culture, and it is my hope that readers will come to see the collection both to remember their own love of the world of comics as well as (in the case of new students) to see what influenced their parents and even grandparents.

Into the unknown, dear readers!

22
May

A gift of money!

   Posted by: rring

Or rather, paper currency!

german currenciesI am delighted to announce a fabulous gift of ephemera by our own staff member, Henry Arneth, who has been collecting these at paper fairs, shops, and eBay now for over 30 years. It comprises a total of 1,532 notes: 753 notes from 118 countries, and 779 “Notgeld” from 250 German and Austrian city-states.

As Douglas Mudd has pointed out, “Among the most important and least studied [aspects of coinage and paper money] is the use of money as a means of communication through art. A nation’s money is often the first impression a visitor gets of the nature of a country. As such, designs and legends placed on money have always been considered important by the authorities responsible for their issue.”

The earliest paper money originated in China around the 7th century A.D. during the Tang dynasty (in the form of privately issued bills of credit), but paper money as we know it today was invented when the government of the Jin Dynasty began issuing Exchange Certificates in 1189. Marco Polo saw the exclusive use of paper money when he visited China from 1275-1292. In Europe it was Sweden which issued the first bank notes in 1660–not surprising, since it was easier to carry than their largest coins (copper “dalers”), which measured up to two feet long and weighed sixty pounds! (look it up).

The first American issue of paper money dates to 1690 in Massachusetts. Lacking specie (metal money) to pay its soldiers returning from Canada, the colony created bills of credit made out to the bearer and payable at certain banks.

img358img359This 500-peso note from Argentina, for instance, features General José de San Martin (1778-1850), who arrived in Buenos Aires in 1811 (after fighting in the Spanish army against the French), and became one of the great “liberators” of Latin America.

On the reverse side is the Cerro de la Gloria, or Mount of Glory. Overlooking the city of Mendoza, this colossal set of bronze statues with a Wagnerian look is the work of the sculptor Ferrari, who immortalized San Martin’s crossing of the Andes to liberate Chile and Peru (1818-1821).

img360img361This 1-Zaïre note from the what WAS the country of Zaire, but since 1997 is the Democratice Republic Of the Congo, features Joseph Désiré, later Sesé Seko Mobutu, born in Lisala in 1930. He was Secretary of State, the Chief of Staff of the Congolese Armed Forces, and finally President of the Republic, and was a force for stabilization and growth. On the verso is a cornucopia and factory chimney. Mining was a major part of the economy–industrial diamonds and cobalt especially, as well as gold, tin, silver and cadmium.

 

I should also mention other items that will be of interest to folks teaching or researching various subjects.  Below is a 10-Krone note from a complete set (of 7) uncirculated notes issued on January 1, 1943 from the concentration camp at Theresienstadt (part of the former Czechoslovakia). All of them feature an engraved vignette of Moses holding the Ten Commandments on the recto. According to one scholar, Theresienstadt was established as a proposed model ghetto to impress foreign visitors and the Red Cross, but was actually no more than a transit point to the death camps in Poland. On the verso is a printed signature of Jakob Edelstein as “Der Alteste der Juden” (Eldest of the Jews).

img362img363There are others of historical interest–issued by the military in wartime (Philippines, France, Russia) or by local polities which had no access to other types of credit.

Lots for the student to explore!

Sources for this post:

Douglas Mudd, All The Money in the World: The Art and History of Paper Money and Coins from Antiquity to the 21st Century (New York: HarperCollins, 2006).

Martin Monestier, The Art of Paper Currency (London, Melbourne & New York: Quartet Books, 1983).

30
Mar

Modern Library comes to the Watkinson!

   Posted by: rring

ML1We are exceedingly pleased to announce a recent gift from Katherine Kyes Leab, of Washington, CT–an almost complete set (nearly 600 volumes) of first- or early issues of the first series of The Modern Library (1917-1970), most of which are in very good condition and have their dust jackets. This collection adds materially to our 20thC literary holdings, as a study collection for modernist literature, publishing, and criticism.

“In the 1920s the Modern Library achieved an honorific cultural status unparalleled in reprint publishing, equivalent to that enjoyed simultaneously by America’s ‘intellectual’ magazines and experimental theater troupes . . . [and] despite the deepening Depression, in 1930 it sold over a million books. What had begun in 1917 as a publishing venture designed for self-consciously ‘modern’ bohemian intellectuals found an extensive new audience after Bennet Cerf and Donald Klopfer bought the series from Horace Liveright in 1925.”

“The Modern Library’s origin as a self-consciously subversive literary purveyor to America’s fledgling Greenwich Village intelligensia established its early critical success . . . From 1925, when Cerf and Klopfer took control of the series and began to apply new marketing strategies, to the start of World War II, the Modern Library sustained a period of healthy growth as it rapidly expanded into new markets. Its distribution and sales methods in the early 1930s foreshadowed the era of the mass-market paperback, and it became the cornerstone of Random House, perhaps the most financially successful publishing firm of the twentieth century. This period was crucial in the development of the modern concept of culture and it saw a dramatic reformulation of the country’s book trade.”

[Jay Satterfield, The World’s Best Books: Taste, Culture, and the Modern Library (U. of Massachusetts Press, 2002), “Introduction”].

16
Nov

Bird anatomy in multiple languages

   Posted by: rring

THIS JUST IN!

birdsA collection of one hundred 18th and 19th century articles, offprints and monographs relating to bird anatomy in English, German, French, Dutch, Italian and Latin, and illustrated with 145 plates, mostly lithographs and engravings.

John Amory Jeffries (1859-1892) was one of the original active members of the American Ornithologists’ Union founded in 1883, but his interest in ornithology had developed much earlier. He and his brother, W. A. Jeffries, performed active field work which gave him, even before he entered Harvard College in 1877, “an unusually thorough knowledge of local ornithology as well as a very considerable collection of birds.” Although his love of field work continued, he turned his attention to anatomical and biological work while attending Harvard College (1877-1881) and, afterwards, Harvard Medical School (1881-1884). During those years he found time to do a surprising amount of anatomical and embryological work upon birds, giving his attention largely to the development of feathers and other epidermal structures. After receiving his M.D., he went to Europe for two more years of study, mostly at Vienna and Berlin. He returned to Boston in 1886, establishing himself professionally and continuing his ornithological studies until his premature death from pneumonia at age 33.

16
Nov

Audubon letter

   Posted by: rring

Recently acquired!

img230Autograph Letter from John James Audubon to Robert Havell, Jr., dated July 21, 1839.

With instructions to deliver casks of natural history objects to Sheffield, and wishing him a pleasant voyage to America. Having spent 1837-39 in England, finalizing the publication of the Birds of America, Audubon writes to Havell days before both men depart for America: “…We will sail on Monday next . . . from this port for New York on board the packet ship the George Washington . . . You and Mrs. Havell and daughter will sail from London on the 1st of August . . .”

Upon their arrival, Havell and his family stayed with the Audubons in Brooklyn before moving to Ossining, NY, and subsequently to Tarryown, where he spent the remaining years of his life painting and engraving landscapes and views of the Hudson River and of American cities.

This is a nice addition to the collection, especially since our copy of Audubon’s Birds of America was Robert Havell’s own copy–it sold to a New York firm just after Havell died, and bought that same year by Dr. Gurdon Russell, Trinity Class of 1834, who gave it to the College in 1900.

31
Oct

Piles of scifi!

   Posted by: rring

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

blog3c1As progress continues on this collection, I have switched gears. Individual cleaning and air drying of each volume has proven to be a time consuming endeavor.

This gear change allowed me to plow through five bankers’ boxes of materials in the same time I was able to work on two boxes. With the extra time I was able to focus on the categorizing and sequencing the numerous volumes. Occasionally a duplicate volume was located and the even rarer third copy of a volume.

One unexpected find that I found very interesting was the way that some volumes were marked for postal delivery. In more recent titles the practice of placing the addressee label directly on the magazine publication seems to have become more common. However, I found a few that were still in their original brown paper postal wrapping. According to the US Postal Service at about.usps.com under their Postage Rates for Periodicals: A Narrative History page, periodicals were given a very low rate in the interest of free press that was supported by both Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. This explains the second class marking that seems to have gone out of existence in the modern postage rate schedule.

For me it is easy to see why this collection will appeal to a diverse group of researchers. A researcher could easily look at the printing/binding process of mass publications over the course of many years or the advertisements that find their way into the different magazines or the correlation between pop culture and science fiction predictions. No matter which lens you use, this collection provides a phenomenal look into the past.

[A WEEK LATER]

blog3aThis amazing collection has begun to take shape. This week saw huge strides in the organization and chronological order of this overwhelming set of science fiction magazines. To accomplish this task, it was necessary to sort the magazines by title then by decade, year, then finally by calendar year. It was absolutely amazing to see such a diverse set of images and see the progression of each magazine over the years.

Thus far the majority of the magazines are from the following publications; Analog/Astounding Science Fiction, Galaxy, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Worlds of If Science Fiction. Analog/Astounding Science Fiction now commonly called ASF has been in publication since the 1930’s. Astounding Science Fiction was combined with Analog in the 1960’s and is publishing.

Galaxy was published from the 1950s-1995 in paper and is now in digital format. The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction began its publications about 1949 and is still in publication. Worlds of If Science Fiction also began its publications about 1949 and is still published.

If you are interested in the ins and outs of the publication dates and history of the magazines, I found lots of information from www.sf-encyclopedia.com  to be very enlightening. Approximately fifteen to twenty percent of the collection still needs to be sorted but for now it is on display in the atrium of the Raether LITC, near the circulation desk (Level A). Feel free to stop by and look at the wonder that is this remarkable collection.

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20
Oct

SciFi imagery themes

   Posted by: rring

blog2a[Posted by Ashley Esposito, a graduate student in American Studies doing an internship in the Watkinson]

Leigh Couch Collection in progress…

I am beginning to see an emerging pattern of common imagery and themes. Imagery that persist within science fiction to this day. Isolation of stranded individuals. Most often this isolation seems to be geographic. Wide open spaces and what appears to be conventionally recognized waste land. Often it seems to be reminiscent of the wild west or dessert. With gigantic arching stone formations and a distinct lack of anything visible beyond the landscape.

Another common theme is the imbalance of technology. As seen in this August 1967 cover of The World of If Science Fiction, depicting the concepts from the novel The Age of Science and Sorcery. A bearded man that likely represents a Merlin type character is surrounded by technology. The argument of science versus science fiction has been made many times over the years. I doubt that either will win but the conversation is worth having.

The third common theme was the contrast of humans shown as uncivilized man in a stark contrast to the machines and technology that around them. Very often I found that the cover art pitted the native man against well evolved machines. The common static representation of a sword wielding man fighting against what appears to be far superior technology.

One of the best things about Science Fiction is its ability to move you past your own circumstances. Yet is maintains that same challenges we face in a different light. Escape and storytelling woven together.

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16
Sep

Reynolds collection pics

   Posted by: rring

[Posted by Peter Rawson, Associate Curator of Archives & MSS]

reynolds2As mentioned in a previous post, we received a rich set of material from Jon Reynolds last fall.  Mr.  Reynolds has sent us more material over the last year and we are integrating it into the collection.  Michelle Sigiel, an archives intern from Simmons College has come across a set of approximately 75 slides depicting Vietnam in 1963.  These images give us a fascinating look into the American war in Vietnam.

Montagnards, also known as “The Degar” are indigenous people of the Central Highlands of Vietnam.  Many Degars worked with American Special Forces and were a critical part of the American military effort.

We are in the process of making this collection available for research and plan to complete this phase late this term.

The first two images picture Montagnards. Pic 3 is of a US plane flying over South Vietneam; pic 4 is of South Vietnamese troops; pic 5 is of army helicopters, and the final pic is of Vietnamese children.

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