RBML Welcomes New Curator
We are thrilled to announce the arrival of a new Curator of Rare Books & Manuscripts. Anna Chen will be joining the RBML team in mid-July. She is a remarkable special collections librarian, who comes to us from Princeton University where she has served as Assistant Curator of Manuscripts since 2011. Previous to that appointment, she worked at the Harry Ransom Research Center at the University of Texas, the Beinecke Library at Yale, and the Lewis Walpole Library.
Anna received her Ph.D. in English Literature from Yale University, with emphasis on medieval and early modern literature and has published on both 15th-century and modern manuscripts in the Journal of English and Germanic Philology and Digital Humanities Quarterly: DHQ. She loves to teach with primary resources, introducing students and the broader community to the ideas and human achievements contained in the library’s special collections. Needless to say, we can’t wait for her to arrive!
Annual James Joyce
16 June from 4-6 pm
Mike 'n Molly's
105 N Market St. Champaign
Bloomsday is an annual celebration of James Joyce and his legendary work, Ulysses. We will have music, poetry, readings from Joyce, Guinness, and more! Please come join us for our annual celebration hosted by the Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
If you would like to read some of your favorite Joyce or participate in some other way, please contact Marten Stromberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Library Acquires Classic of Natural History, Edward Lear’s "Parrots"
How pleasant to have Mr. Lear among RBML’s great illustrated bird books! We all know and love Edward Lear (1812-1888) as a nonsense poet and sketcher of comical scenes like the one above which appeared in his 1846 Book of Nonsense. But are we as well-versed in his serious art as we are in his silly limericks?
The library has just acquired Lear’s early work on Parrots, which is said “to be the finest ever published on that bird family and among the greatest ornithological works ever produced.” Completed when Lear was just 20 years old, the large folio includes 42 hand-colored lithographs by Lear, illustrating the parrot family in all its variety and color. Lear’s book represents several firsts: 1) it is the first bird book published in large folio size; 2) the first study of a single family of birds; and 3) the first bird book drawn entirely from living specimens. In addition, he pioneered the use of lithography (rather than engraving) for this kind of scientific art.
Lear had worked for the Zoological Society in London as a very young man and began this project with the Earl of Derby, who kept a private zoo at his estate Knowsley Hall. While living at Knowsley Hall, “where children and mirth abounded” (Lear, 1871), he also began to dash off limericks and silly drawings to amuse his young friends. But that is another story….
Lear’s work had a great influence on two contemporary ornithologists, John James Audubon and John Gould (whose seminal works are also held by the library). These men represent the Triple Crown of ornithological art and all are now among our collections at Illinois.
Essay Prize Contest Winners!
Xiangyun Duan wins
Harris Fletcher Award,
Sarah E. Hoover wins
T.W. Baldwin Prize
To foster the use of primary sources and rare materials, The Rare Book & Manuscript Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers two prizes each year for the best research paper based on original sources from RBML. The prizes, co-sponsored by the The No. 44 Society, include separate judging and prizes for undergraduate (Fletcher Award) and graduate (Baldwin Prize) student papers. Professors in any department may nominate a student’s work. All submissions must be made by faculty (not by the students themselves). Winning entries receive a $500 prize.
Xiangyun Duan's GER 199 CHP research paper, Recent and Historical Provenance of “Aristotelis Ethica Aliaque”, analyzed issues of provenance relating to the Library's Pre-1650 MS0008, which had been a personal gift of University President Edmund J. James in 1916. Mr. Duan is a Junior in Engineering.
Sarah Hoover's LIS 590 research project, Magnificent Entertainment: Royal Ceremony and Spectacle Under the Stuart Kings, was a full-fledged exhibition proposal using ten items found in RBML that textually and graphically illustrate the lengths to which the Stuart monarchs went to legitimizing their reigns with highly-ceremonial displays. Sarah is a Masters student in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science.
Xiangyun and Sarah will be honored at the September 11 meeting of The No. 44 Society.
Upcoming Fall Exhibition:
Life on the Moon
30 August—13 December 2013
From Lucian's True History up to H.G. Wells' The First Men in the Moon, this exhibition will trace the scientific and literary background of speculation about life on the moon. We will kick things off with an IPRH sponsored lecture by Wells' scholar Dr. Simon J. James from Durham University on The First Men in the Moon and we will host several other lectures, from the perspective of Astronomy, Geology and others. Several other events will be hosted in Champaign-Urbana during the exhibition to bring the focus of our scope on our inspiring, constant companion.
(I Know it is too early to think of Fall, but...)
The 2013-14 No. 44 Society Schedule is Taking Shape!
- September 11: Graham Arader, Gallery Owner and Book Dealer
- October 9: Christian DuPont on Dante
- November 13: Tour of "Life on the Moon"
Mark your calendars!