Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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!

24
Jun

Science Fiction comes to the Watkinson

   Posted by: rring

scifiThe Watkinson is pleased to announce the gift of the Leigh Couch Collection of science fiction magazines, consisting of several hundred magazines dating from the 1930s to the 1980s. It is particularly strong in the magazines from the 1950s and 1960s, when experimental, diverse and New Wave writers like Samuel R. “Chip” Delaney, Roger Zelazny, and Michael Moorcock were remaking the field into its modern form. Scores of issues feature the first appearances by many of the most important writers in contemporary science fiction, including Philip K. Dick, Connie Willis, Joe Haldeman, Ursula K. Le Guin, and many others.

Science fiction fandom began in the United States in the 1920s when pulp fiction magazines like Amazing Stories (founded by Hugo Gernsbach, for whom the annual science fiction Hugo Awards are named) were the medium for the development of the science fiction genre, and attracted passionate followers who connected with each other through letters published in the pulps. They began to correspond, form groups, publish the first fanzines (or zines) and many sought to become professional writers. Early fans-turned-pros include Ray Bradbury, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (creators of Superman), and Isaac Asimov (I, Robot).

Leigh CouchLeigh Couch (1925-1998) was a fan of science fiction who began reading the genre in the pulp magazines as a child in the 1940s, so she was a pioneer as the fandom was predominantly male for decades. As a Catholic grade school teacher and young mother of three, she become very active in science fiction fandom from the 1960s through the 1980s, along with her whole family. She attended numerous world and regional science fiction conventions and was on the planning and organizing committee of the Saint Louiscon World Science Fiction Convetion in 1969, the year of the Moon landing. She and her husband Norbert C. Couch were popular fan guests of honor at regional conventions in the Midwest in the 1970s.

In a letter to a zine in the 1970s, she recalled, “I don’t think a young fan of today can realize how suspect we were for reading the pulps, and for a girl to read [SF], that was almost proof of perversion!” During her almost three decades of activity in science fiction fandom, she was a mentor to many younger fans, both personally encouraging of their publishing, writing, and art activities, and providing a role model as a mature and professional adult who also took popular culture seriously, publishing zines, writing letters and articles, running and attending science fiction conventions. She published the well-regarded zine Sirruish, which was included in Fredric Wertham’s The World of Fanzines: A Special Form of Communication.

The collection will be available for research in the fall.

 

27
Apr

Third Annual Writer’s Residency

   Posted by: rring

IMG_1361I am pleased to announce that May Collins P. Woollcott ’16 is this year’s awardee of the South Beach Writing Residency, offered by the family of Hyam Plutzik ’32.

Originally from Atlanta, GA, May is an English major with a focus on creative writing. This semester she is completing a poetry thesis under Professor Clare Rossini, poet and Artist-in-Residence at Trinity College. Upon graduation, May will be moving to Boston to work in publishing. She hopes to attend an MFA program in the coming years.

The family of Hyam Plutzik (Trinity ’32) provides an annual residency (for five years) in South Beach in the Betsy Writer’s Room to a graduating senior with outstanding talent in the literary arts.  The award is bestowed as part of the graduation program (Honors Day).  This residency comes with a $500 travel stipend, six days lodging, and a per diem of $50. During the residency, which can happen anytime during the award year, the recipient will be invited to participate in an Arts Salon to share her work with the community.

gothic exhibThe Watkinson loans material to round out the story!

This captivating exhibition displays costume, the fine and decorative arts, and literature to explain the context of Romantic fashion up to contemporary Goth. Watkinson loaned books by Sir Walter Scott, Lord Byron, Jules Verne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, H.G. Wells and Hartford’s own Lydia Sigourney. Sigourney’s Letters to Young Ladies is one of the stops on the audio tour, and is described by Watkinson associate curator Sally Dickinson. http://tap.thewadsworth.org/tap-web-app/#archive/tour-655/controller/StopListView

 

gothic exhib sigourney 2Mrs. Sigourney wrote hundreds of poems, books, and articles that captured the sentiments of the day, especially for women. Guest curator Lynne Bassett gave a special tour the day of the opening and was most appreciative of our collaboration. Our relationship with the Atheneum continues to grow!

Gothic to Goth runs March 5 through July 10, 2016 at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford.

gothic exhib sigourney

[Posted by Sally Dickinson, Associate Curator & Preservation Librarian]

14
Nov

Homecoming visitors

   Posted by: rring

IMG_3330Members of the current Tripod staff were able to benefit from the wisdom of several alumni who worked on the paper in their time at Trinity, and came in today to look at the exhibition “Ten Decades of the Tripod.”

Ben Barber ’65 held forth to the students about the importance of editing, especially when the current editor revealed that many student contributors were offended by changes made to their copy.

“That’s journalism,” said Barber, a professional journalist for decades who currently writes for the Huffington Post, and who made it clear that every writer needs an editor. Barber left Trinity and “became a hippie,” as he says, roving through India and Thailand for ten years, writing poetry and selling stories to newspapers back in the US. He spoke at length with several students about writing and reporting.

 

IMG_3331Robert Cockburn ’90, who also serves on the Board of Fellows, talked animatedly with the students and other alumni (Pat Sclafani ’83, and Patty Hooper Kelley ’82) and told stories of their days with the paper. A bit later Marybeth (Callan) Serdechny ’83 and Que (Ho) Witik ’83 dropped in and reminisced about the classmates they saw in the stacks of Tripods from the 1980s.

Another alumnus, Dan Kelman ’76, who served on the Tripod as a freelance photographer in the early 1970s, pointed out many of his pics and reminisced about his friend Dave Levin ’75, who went on to shoot photos for Sports Illustrated.

 

 

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28
Sep

Exhibition opening

   Posted by: rring

IMG_3262Now that our 20-foot timeline for “Ten Decades of the Trinity Tripod” has been installed, we can finally open this exhibition!

The Watkinson Library invites the campus community to our opening during Common Hour (12:15-1:30) on Tuesday, October 6th, 2015. We will have light refreshments, and the event for the hour will be a running game of Trin-Trivia, a game devised by Head Curator Rick Ring to test your knowledge (and teach you a little something) about Trinity College history.

For those who show up and play, you will be able to win a “vintage” edition of the Tripod, or other cool bits of Trinitiana!IMG_3261

21
Sep

We lent some cool stuff for their party!

   Posted by: rring

[Associate Curator Sally Dickinson attended a recent event opening the Wadsworth Atheneum after a long period of renovation. Some of our books are featured in their exhibition.]

The evening began with a walk up the red carpet to the Wadsworth Atheneum’s opening celebration for its “museum family.” The cause was the completion of a 5-year renovation and reinstallation of its impressive collections of European art. Shown here is the Watkinson’s contribution to the Cabinet of Art and Curiosities: Konrad Gesner’s Historiae Animalium (1617,) Johann Gottfried’s Newe Welt und Americanische Historien (1655) and Joannes Jonstonus’s Historiae naturalis (1657). The books were selected by Atheneum curator Linda Roth. A personal favorite is the engraving of a unicorn. The gallery was visually arresting. Picture natural history specimens, painting, and decorative arts informing one another. The installation (puffer fish mounted about the door, drawers of manuscripts and portraits, etc.) was as remarkable as the art itself. This show is one not to miss. Link to the New York Times review.

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6
Aug

Welcome to Trinity!

   Posted by: rring

RawsonThe Watkinson Library is pleased to announce the appointment of Peter Rawson as Associate Curator of Archives and Manuscript Collections. He will begin working at Trinity on August 24, 2015.

Peter is originally from Riverside, Connecticut.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in history (concentrating on modern Europe) from Antioch University Seattle, a master’s degree in library science, and a master’s degree in history (American history, 18th-20th centuries)—both from Simmons College. His history thesis focused on the ways in which the 1918-19 influenza epidemic in the U.S. disappeared in popular discourse for over a generation after the event.

For the past nine years he has been Archivist for the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, CT. Prior to that he served for six years at the Center for the History of Medicine at the Countway Library, Harvard Medical School, as photograph/image archivist, archivist for the National Archives of Plastic Surgery, and assistant reference librarian. Before becoming an archivist, Peter spent a decade living and working in Hartford as the Canvass Director for the Connecticut Citizen Action Group.

15
Apr

A celebration of Paul Lauter’s gifts

   Posted by: rring

PaulLast night the English Department sponsored an event in the Watkinson to help us celebrate the gift of two archives (now processed and ready for researchers) by retired professor Paul Lauter.

The larger of the two archives are 25 boxes of files and papers related to the formation and production of the Heath Anthology of American Literature, now in its eighth edition. The Heath Anthology  began in 1984 as a project of The Feminist Press called Reconstructing American Literature (RAL).  The literary “canon,” according to Lauter and his collaborators, had long overlooked the writings of most women and people of color.  Beginning at the 1968 meeting of the Modern Language Association, activist conference participants argued for a more inclusive and diverse understanding of American literature.  Lauter was a leader in this groundbreaking endeavor, from which the RAL project and ultimately an entirely new anthology emerged.

stuffAmong the categories in the Lauter collection are African American, Asian American, Latino/a, and Native American writings, organizations like MELUS (Multiethnic Literature of the United States), traditionally significant authors like Melville, Multiculturalism, Secondary School projects (for changes in high school curricula) and Teaching. The Teaching folders feature syllabi developed for the Heath Anthology  along with articles by Paul Lauter and other members of the Heath editorial board on such topics as using the anthology and teaching lesser-known writers and multicultural literature.  Also included are copies of a biannual newsletter produced by the publisher, DC Heath, to promote the anthology and to help faculty teach its breadth of literary texts.  54 folders labelled “Miscellaneous” offer access to varied works by authors considered for the anthology, searchable by last names.  The Heath Anthology  is, in fact, part of a revolution in the study and teaching of American literature.

IMG_3119“In putting together the Heath,” Paul Lauter wrote, “we wished to represent what we perceived to be the rich diversity of American cultures, [especially] the significance of gender, race, and class to the shaping and reception of literary texts.”crowd

The second collection is the Paul Lauter ‘Sixties Archive, comprising fourteen boxes which contain correspondence, pamphlets, newspapers, books, and flyers from organizations like Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), New University Conference (NUC), American Friends Service Committee, U.S. Servicemen’s Fund, and the Feminist Press.  Lauter, who was active in all of those organizations, also collected materials on the anti-Vietnam-war movement, including draft resistance and GI peace activity, the feminist, civil rights, and LGBT movements of the time, and student activism more generally.

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16
Feb

Our Spring cohort of Creative Fellows

   Posted by: rring

I am pleased to announce a bumper crop of Fellows this spring!

Lundergan photoAmanda Lundergan ‘17 will create a short film project based on and exemplifying the symbols she encounters in the Watkinson’s extensive collection of material related to the poet Robert Frost. Amanda is originally from Raymond, New Hampshire (close to the Frost Farm in Derry). She is currently in her sophomore year at Trinity College, where she is majoring in Sociology. She is involved on campus through the Trinity Tripod, where she is the Arts and Entertainment co-editor.

 

MoranJohn Moran ’15 is a San Francisco native in his senior year at Trinity College.  He studies English with a focus in Creative Writing, and spends most of his time writing and composing music.  He hopes to explore the work of great American lyricists of the past to better build up his own body of work.

 

 

MullenAshley Mullen ’15 plans to write a novella of about 60,000 words based on the Watkinson’s collection of 19thC diaries by women, etiquette guides, and home magazines like Godey’s Ladies Book. Ashley is originally from San Diego, CA, and is a senior majoring in Art History and minoring in French studies (she spent two semesters in Paris, living with a host family).

 

Shaina VermaShaina Verma ’18 plans to work with travel narratives of foreigners touring the U.S., particularly British-born, like Oscar Wilde (Impressions of America, 1906) and Charles Dickins’s (American Notes, 1842). Shaina is originally from New Delhi, India, and is currently in her freshman year at Trinity College, where she is a double major in Mathematics and English, whilst considering a minor in Computer Science. She attended boarding school in England, which further fostered her childhood love of books. She is currently working towards a Private Pilot’s License, as well being proficient in Kuchipudi (a Classical Indian dance form).

VillarrealJake Villarreal ’17 will write and perform a set of Slam poetry inspired by the “movement” archives collections in the Watkinson. Jake is originally from Seaside, CA, and transferred from Bates College this year, majoring in International Studies with a concentration in Gender/Sexuality studies. He hopes to use this fellowship to explore how to integrate the arts and social movements, and is working towards becoming an activist for indigenous rights and queer issues.

WatsonSarah Watson ’15 plans to explore the Watkinson stacks and create a “commonplace book” out of what she finds. An English major from Columbus, Ohio, Sarah can be found in the Underground Coffeehouse, singing with the Chapel Singers, and “breaking it down” with the Quirks.  Next year, she is looking forward to being a City Year Corps Member in New Orleans.