Archive for the ‘oppotunities for research’ Category

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”].

19
Dec

Beerbohm collection

   Posted by: rring

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.

Mcgill gift

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

2

15
Dec

Asimov’s SF

   Posted by: rring

[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

14
Dec

Miss Susanna Olmsted Her Book

   Posted by: rring

[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!

8
Dec

Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction

   Posted by: rring

[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.

 

6
Dec

Friendship album

   Posted by: rring

[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

16
Nov

Analog

   Posted by: rring

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

Analog1Leigh Couch Collection in progress…

This week my focus was on Analog Science Fiction. Originally published under the title Astounding Stories from 1937-1960 then making the transition to a few versions of Analog that juggled “science fiction,” “science fact” and even “science fiction & fact.” Analog published 664 volumes from 1960-2016. This collection includes volumes from 1960-1994. In the first picture you can see just how impressive that is. Our digital age has taken a toll on the tangible printed word so it makes this collection nostalgic.Analog2

The pictures show the progression from Astounding Stories to Analog and its further progressive reimagining. The progressively evolve from February 1960 and January 1961 you can see the stylized font associated with Astounding Stories (AS) continuing the visual character from its covers. On the top right cover from January 1963 you can see the title is Analog Science Fact Science Fiction complete with the symbol for that was created to the magazine to give the full title ‘ANALOG – Science Fact is analogous to Science Fiction’. In 1966 the symbol all but disappears from the cover at yet it persisted on the binding until about 1974 where it seems to disappear completely.

The cover font and layout went through a few versions until the 1990s when it settled on its current presentation. The last photo is of the recently published November 2016.

Analog3I enjoyed getting to know Analog not only because it is such a long-standing publication that gives a different insight into society but also because I can see some of my favorite concepts and images from science fiction being born on the covers and in the pages of Analog.

 

Additional Resources:

www.sf-enyclopedia.com

www.isfdb.org

16
Nov

Worlds of IF

   Posted by: rring

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

IF1Leigh Couch Collection in progress…

This week I spent time with the If Science Fiction magazine, also know as the Worlds of IfIF has 175 volumes published between March of 1952 and December of 1974. It was under the same publishing umbrella as Galaxy so it often shared authors, stories and advertisers. The Leigh Couch Collection has 130 volumes of the 175 printed.

Authors included Robert A Heinlein, Keith Laumer, James Blish, A E Van Vogt and Jacqueline Lichtenberg.

It has been suggested that both Galaxy and If did not get the recognition they deserved during the 1960s because of the sloppy printing and binding that is visible in both magazines. The content of the magazines was considered quality writing.  By comparison, the 1970s volumes are much better designed and bound. When you factor in the change in cover price in the 1960s of .35 to .60 in 1970s it is easy to see where the additional funds came from to present the magazine in a better light.

I also noticed in  IF that the normal mail order correspondence course and book order forms were replaced by full color advertising inserts for tobacco products. So it seems that If  began to take departure from Galaxy.

IF2As I continue to explore this collection, I am overwhelmed by the diverse research potential and interest that exists within its pages.

Resources:

www.sf-enyclopedia.com

www.isfdb.org

4
Nov

Galaxy

   Posted by: rring

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

Galaxy stackLeigh Couch Collection in progress…

This week I found myself focusing on Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine. My first task was to confirm the chronological order while conducting an inventory of this section of the collection. Galaxy was founded by H. L. Gold in October of 1950. Between 1950 and 1995, Galaxy was published in 262 issues, although there were various times when the publication was on different schedules. Based on the inventory I conducted we have approximately 48% of the issues printed. Some issues we have in two or three copies.

A range of now-famous writers published in its pages, including Theodore Sturgeon, Jack Vance, Larry Niven, Frank Herbert, Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Issac Asimov. Galaxy seemed to regularly reinvent itself and its direction with each new editor.

In 1953 it shared a Hugo award for Best Magazine with Astounding. As with the many of science fiction publications, Galaxy has transitioned into the digital age as Galaxysciencefiction.com and its companion, Galaxy e-zine.org.

I look forward to getting to know this title better as this project persist. If you are interested in some further information on Galaxy or science fiction in general, please use the resources listed below.

Galaxy stack2

Resources:

www.sf-enyclopedia.com

www.isfdb.org

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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