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News from the UIUC Rare Book and Manuscript Library

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In This Issue:

  • "Life on the Moon" Exhibition Open Through December 13

  • "See You on the Moon" Events All Semester Long

  • "Real Thing" Reading Group to Discuss Graham Greene's The Potting Shed

  • Spring Exhibition to Feature Recent Acquisitions

  • Proust Finds Chicago to be His Kind of Town

  • Essay Contests for Fall Semester

  • Christian Dupont No. 44 Society Talk, Re-scheduled for November 13

  • Visiting Scholars Get Wheels, Applications Open


Current Exhibition:

Life on the Moon:
Literary and Scientific Speculations

30 August —
13 December 2013

Curated by
Marten Stromberg and
Patrick Fadely

moon and earth

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is collaborating with several local sponsors to offer an exhibition and moon-themed series of events this fall.

The exhibition, Life on the Moon: Literary and Scientific Reflections, highlights the history of scientific and literary speculation about life on the moon. It includes books from the rare book collection at Illinois tracing the history of lunar speculation all the way back to Roman times. Also on display are three artifacts from the Apollo 16 mission, including a moon rock on loan from the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA), and two artifacts from Kennesaw State University.

"See You on the Moon:"
The Event Series!

The event series, "See You on the Moon," accompanies the "Life on the Moon" exhibition in The Rare Book & Manuscript Library. These events are sponsored by the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH), the Center for Advanced Study, the Station Theatre, the Parkland Planetarium, the Asian-American Cultural Center, the Astronomy Department, the U of I Concert Jazz Band, the Pygmalion Music Festival, Orchard Downs, the Japan House, the Art Theatre, the Art + Design Department, the Independent Media Center, and the Iron Post in Urbana.

Myths by Moonlight, at the Staerkel Planetarium, Parkland College, Champaign
November 15, 7 pm, $4

Moon Viewing, at the University of Illinois Observatory,
November 19, (time to be announced)

Moon Music by the U of I Concert Jazz Band, at the Iron Post, Urbana
November 20, 7 pm

For more information on these events go to:


The Potting Shed

"Real Thing" Reading Group
Program #2

Graham Greene's Play,
The Potting Shed
To be Discussed Thursday, November 7th at 4 p.m. in RBML

The Real Thing Reading Group meets during the academic year to discuss books for which the Rare Book & Manuscript Library holds the manuscript (usually the author’s own!). To date, we have read works by Carl Sandburg, H.G. Wells, and Washington Irving, among others.

This year’s second meeting will be held at 4 p.m. on Thursday, November 7 at 4 p.m. in RBML. We will be discussing Graham Greene's 1957 psychological drama, The Potting Shed. We have a typescript with authorial corrections and additions. All are welcome! Please contact Tad Boehmer at boehmer 2 (at) illinois (dot) edu for more information.


Next Exhibition:

lear parrot

Recent Acquisitions
24 January —
16 May 2014

Curated by:
Valerie Hotchkiss, Marten Stromberg, Anna Chen, Caroline Szylowicz, Tad Boehmer, Tony Hynes, Chloe Ottenhoff and Sarah Lindenbaum

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library has acquired a number of book and manuscript additions over the past few years. This exhibition will showcase a number of them. Many of them will be on display for the first time.

With so much to choose from, it made sense to offer our eight display cases to eight different curators, with each assigned to develop a theme.

Collections and items to be highlighted range from baseball to incunabula, from Gwendolyn Brooks to Carl Sandburg, and from early English playbills to modern fine press publications. Also represented are new items from Marcel Proust, the fantastic Edward Lear book of parrots (1832), original drawings by the graphic artist George Cruikshank, and new additions to our William S. Merwin and H. G. Wells collections.

We look forward to showing-off our exciting new works!


Curator Notes:

Hundredth Anniversary of Swann’s Way – Part Three: Marcel Goes on a Road Trip to Chi-town

RBML was recently invited to participate in two well-attended, Chicago-based celebrations of Proust’s masterpiece novel. These events took place on October 16 and 17 and were sponsored by the Consulate General of France in Chicago and the Alliance Française de Chicago

Events at Lake Forest College included “The All-Midwest Summarize Proust Competition”, a skit written and performed by Lake Forest College Theater students and inspired by the 1972 Monty Python original, a conversation and Q&A on Proust, and an introduction to the RBML Proust collection by Caroline Szylowicz. Other speakers included Lake Forest College Professor David Ellison, the author of A Reader’s Guide to Proust’s ‘In Search of Lost Time’, the Chicago-based novelis Aleksandar Hemon, and Davis Schneiderman, a novelist and professor at Lake Forest College.

The conversation at the Graham School of Continuing Education at the University of Chicago featured David Ellison and Irina Ruvinsky, from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and encore presentations by Caroline and the All-Midwest Summarize Proust players.

RBML Proust items on display at University of Chicago Gleacher Center

Each event concluded with a tea-and-madeleines reception and viewing of original editions of Swann’s Way and letters of Marcel Proust from our RBML collection. The small, but tasteful selection of was much appreciated by the Chicago-area Proustophiles who had missed our summer exhibition.


university of chicago madeleines

Fall Semester 2013
Essay Contests:

The Harris Fletcher Award and
The 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 sponsors two prize competitions each Fall Semester 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).

The award for each category is $500. Entries should be emailed to Dennis Sears (dsears (at) illinois (dot) edu), the Rare Book & Manuscript Library's Public Programs Manager, 346 Library, 1408 W. Gregory Dr., Urbana, IL 61801, MC-522. Deadline for entry: 10 January 2014. Winners will be announced at the 12 February 2014 No. 44 Society meeting.

November's No. 44 Society Talk
13 November at 3:00 p.m. in RBML

Christian Dupont:
"To Hell and Back: Illustrating Dante's Inferno"

Be sure to mark your calendar for the re-scheduled talk by Christian Dupont's about Dante and illustration!

Rare book librarian Christian Dupont has extensively studied cultural receptions of Dante and the collecting of his works. His numerous essays on these subjects have appeared in Dante Studies, Harvard Library Bulletin, and Studies in Bibliography among other publications.

The Remaining 2013—2014
Schedule of Meetings of
No. 44 Society,
a Convivial Confab for Book Collectors

December 11, 2013, 3:00 PM in RBM

Come join us for a Holiday Cheer Party and Book Brag. We will also celebrate John Milton's birthday.

February 12, 2014 AT 3:00 PM in RBML

Henry Hébert, the Rare Book Conservator at the University of Illinois Library will talk about conservation and care of rare materials. Winners of the 2013 Fall Semester Fletcher and Baldwin Essay contests will also be announced.

March 12, 2014, 3:00 PM in RBML

J. Kevin Graffagnino, Director of the Clements Library at the University of Michigan will give a talk entitled; "Bibliophilia to Bibliomania."

April 9, 2014, 3:00 PM Field Trip!

Please join us for a field trip to the Fresh Press! Pull a piece of paper and find out more about what's happening in the book arts in our area.

May 14, 2014, 3:00 PM in RBML

Paul Gehl, Custodian of the John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing at the Newberry Library in Chicago will talk about the University of Illinois Cavagna Collection.

Rare Book & Manuscript Library Invites Visiting Scholar Applications

The John "Bud" Velde Visiting Scholars Program

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library annually awards two stipends of up to $3,000 to scholars and researchers, unaffiliated with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who would like to spend a month or more conducting research with our materials.

Information about this program and how to apply is found on our Web site at:, or contact the Public Programs Manager Dennis Sears (dsears (at) illinois (dot) edu) with further questions. Deadline for application is:
*1 February 2014*

Wheels for Scholars

Daniel D. Shin and Lynn S. Cline Power Clean Rides for Visitors

RBML is very grateful to Daniel Shin and Lynn Cline for their donation of funds for the provision of a bicycle to be used by our month-long Velde Visiting Scholars. Many of our visiting scholars end up residing a ways out from campus and this gift will help future generations of visitors pedal higher efficiencies into their research—and lungs!

hg wells and jane wells on a bike

Rare Book & Manuscript Library
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

346 Main Library, 1408 W. Gregory Drive., Urbana, IL 61801 MC-586
217-333-3777    Ask A Curator

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