Archive for the ‘New acquisition’ Category

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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9
Sep

Gift: Papers of Roger Clarke

   Posted by: rring

Roger ClarkeThe Watkinson is very pleased to announce the gift of the professional papers and working library of CT-based architect Roger Clarke (1936-2011). Clarke was born in England (Castleford, Yorkshire), studied at Liverpool University, apprenticed in Germany, worked in London for several firms, and in 1963 met Marjorie Donnelly, an American who was in England making her way back from the Peace Corps in the Philippines as part of the first wave of volunteers sent by JFK. They hit it off and wrote to each other but time and distance took its toll. In 1967 Clarke took a job in Philadelphia, and later moved to New York City, where he worked for two prestigious firms, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Edward Larabee Barnes. Marjorie was working as a book editor in New York where they reunited and were married. They moved to Collinsville, CT in 1972. He worked for Henry Shadler in West Hartford, then opened a firm in Collinsville in 1974 with architect Richard Swibold. They were at the forefront of the “green” movement in the 1970s, which was in its infancy, designing houses with passive solar heating systems and other efficiencies. Through his work on The Old State House, Clarke began to develop his deep interest and enthusiasm  for historic preservation.  He worked on properties such as the Charter Oak Temple (the state’s first synagogue), Gillette Castle, the mansion at Harkness Memorial State Park, the Butler-McCook House in Hartford, the Asylum Hill Congregational Church, and dozens of other projects.

The donor of the collection is Marjorie Clarke, and it will be processed for research as soon as possible.

26
Jul

Strike while the iron is hot!

   Posted by: rring

Courant1A shout-out to Henry Arneth, our Special Collections Assistant, who spotted a great buy at a local auction house–five bound volumes of the Hartford Daily Courant dating from 1838-1843. Up to now we only had seven (7) individual issues dating from 1846-1887 in paper, but of course the main library has the entire run online–which comprise title changes: The Daily Courant (1837-1839) and the Hartford Daily Courant (1840-1887). As anyone will tell you who has handled period newspapers, though, leafing through the real thing and using it online are two very different experiences.

Even Thoreau relates how “scraps of newspapers in which some party had wrapped their luncheon” was more evocative of the past than many a reasoned narrative in his A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (first published in 1849).

Henry told me about the lot around 9am yesterday morning–and the sale was at 6:30pm. By 1:30pm I had struck an agreement with a local antiquarian book dealer who would bid for us at the auction (I had to teach at 6:30) and, if we were successful, deliver the set to us after the sale. We got the set for just over the high estimate, which was still a fabulous bargain for us–definitely what I would call a “wholesale” price. See below for some excerpts from 1838.

Courant6Courant2Courant5Courant4Courant3

 

19
Jul

Papers of Ben Bernard Barber ’65

   Posted by: rring

BarberOn June 30th Peter Rawson and I drove down to Potomac, MD to pick up a great gift to the Archives–several decades of the professional papers of Ben Bernard Barber ’65, who last year received the Alumni Achievement Award for his book Groundtruth: Work, Play and Conflict in the Third World (2014).

Ben came to Trinity from New York City, joining the fraternity QED, serving as the College’s delegate to the Connecticut Intercollegiate Student Legislature and on the staff of The Trinity Tripod, and was also involved with Hillel and the Political Science Club. He majored in French, and following graduation, his “gap year” turned into 15 years of traveling, writing poetry, and occasionally working as a carpenter throughout India, Asia, Europe, and the United States. He earned a master’s degree in journalism at Boston University, a certificate in French studies from the Sorbonne in Paris, and a certificate in Asian studies as a Gannett Fellow at the University of Hawaii.

He found work as a foreign correspondent for The Observer, USA Today, the Washington Times, and The Christian Science Monitor, among other publications, and later served as State Department bureau chief for the Washington Times and then as a senior writer for the U.S. Agency for International Development, where he reported from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and Egypt. He continues to write on foreign affairs today as a columnist for The Huffington Post and The American Legion Magazine.

Ben has also taught as an adjunct professor of foreign policy at Georgetown University and George Mason University, and has delivered lectures on foreign affairs at institutions such as the U.S. Naval Academy, the National Defense University, and Johns Hopkins University. For the U.S. Information Agency, he designed and taught seminars for journalists in 10 African countries, and has appeared as a foreign policy expert on several television networks, including CNN, Fox, and BBC.

img195In 2014 he published Groundtruth: Work, Play and Conflict in the Third Worlda collection of photographs and vignettes about the development of dozens of countries in the Third World, often portrayed in the media as a cliché for poverty, war, and injustice. “For every trouble-making gunman you find in the turbulent corners of the Third World,” he writes, “you find a million decent hardworking men and women raising their children with eyes full of sunshine and hope.”

The archive documents his career as a journalist, and comprises electronic files, correspondence, photos, notes and press clippings. It will be processed and available for use by students, faculty and outside researchers as soon as possible.