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News from the UIUC Rare Book and Manuscript Library

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In This Issue:

  • Fire Burne and Cauldron Bubble:
    Summer Exhibition Now Open!

  • July Main Library Exhibit, Knot Forgotten Features New RBML Crochet Literature Collection

  • Fall Exhibition to Mark Centennial of WWI

  • Cursive Camp for 8-11 year-olds Takes Place June 11 in RBML

  • James Joyce "Bloomsday" Celebration is June 16!

  • RBML Welcomes Local High School Student for Summer "Librarians of Tomorrow" Program

  • RBML Curator Marten Stromberg to Leave in August

  • RBML Grad Assistant David Morris Wins 2014-15 Fellowship to the American Academy in Rome

Summer Exhibition

Fire Burne & Cauldron Bubble: Witchcraft at the Dawn of Modernity

30 May—8 August 2014

Curated by David Anthony Morris

witchcraft exhibition

Between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries, a specter was haunting Europe, the specter of witchcraft. The West was swept by the growing preoccupation of ecclesiastical and secular authorities with the threat posed by witches—that is, by people, most often women, who were believed to practitioners of magic, working in concert with diabolical powers toward the subversion of Christian society.

This seemingly irrational obsession is well represented by printed and manuscript works held by the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. This exhibition showcases a number of texts illustrating the rise and fall of the of the West's long history of fascination with witchcraft and demonology.

July Exhibition in the Main Library's Marshall Gallery

Knot Forgotten: The Tennyson Library of Crochet at Illinois

Curated by Gil Witte


Join RBML as we celebrate the acquisition of the Tennyson Library of Crochet. There will be an exhibit on the first floor of the library and in the Marshall Gallery, in addition to a variety of great events.

The collection has been donated to the Rare Book & Manuscript Library by Gilbert Witte, long-time employee of the University Library. Named the Tennyson Library of Crochet for Witte’s great-grandmother Flora Emily Tennyson, the collection documents the history and practice of the craft through journals, patterns, samples, and manuals. The Tennyson Library of Crochet consists of over 7,000 items in all, ranging in date from 1843 to the present.

Knot Forgotten Events:

  • "Crochet and Kvetch" on Wednesday, July 9 at 3:00 p.m. in the Library's 4th floor staff lounge.

  • Lunchtime exhibit tours on Tuesday, July 15 and Thursday, July 24 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

  • The Lorado Taft statues at the east side entrance of the library will be dressed to impress in crocheted attire during the month of July!

  • Knot Forgotten Extravaganza!
    Friday, July 18:

    • Crochet class for children (age 8 and above, 8 children total, click here to register) from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the Marshall Gallery.

    • Crochet class for adults (Click here to register) from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Marshall Gallery.

    • Reception, including ugly sweater contest, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Marshall Gallery.

    ww1 cartoon

    Fall Exhibition to Commemorate WW1

    29 August—
    19 December 2014

    A century has passed since the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the premiership of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in an alleyway in Sarajevo by elements of the Serbian nationalist "Black Hand" organization.

    The murder set in motion the first great conflict of the twentieth century. Millions would die, and millions more would be injured and displaced. 100 years later, it retains the quality of a senseless slaughter.

    This exhibition will explore primary source materials held by the Rare Book & Manuscript Library that echo the rhetoric and illustrate the consequences of the conflict. It is part of a larger, campus-wide initiative called "The Great War at Illinois."


Don't Forget! RBML Now on Twitter

Help Us Build a Base of Followers!

RBML is officially on Twitter! There are not enough characters to write out “University of Illinois Rare Book & Manuscript Library,” so our account information is: U of Illinois RBML @IllinoisRBML.

Cursive Concerns—
A Scripted Solution!

RBML Invites the 8-11 Set
To "Camp Cursive"

fine cursive

We are concerned about the fading art of reading and writing cursive. Cursive is no longer taught in most grade schools, and we are discovering that many of our undergraduates cannot read or write cursive. Sure, who cares if you print all your notes—it might look a little childish to old fogies, but what’s the big deal? Fair enough, but what about the ability to read historical documents? Students who cannot read cursive are locked out of doing research on such notable figures in our collections as Carl Sandburg, Gwendolyn Brooks, Anthony Trollope or George Washington simply because they cannot read cursive. Soon, children won’t even be able to read their parents’ love letters!

To work against this trend, the Rare Book & Manuscript Library is holding its first ever Camp Cursive for 8-11 year olds on Wednesday, June 11 from 9-5. (Registration is now full)

Annual James Joyce
Bloomsday Celebration!

Join Us June 16
For Two Great Events


Dear Dirty, Champaign-Urbana:
Soon we will again commence with celebrating the RETURN OF BLOOM!

Imperthnthn Imperthnthn, do you hear it approaching? James Joyce demands his due and I invite you all to join us in the sacred offering.

By Jove-ah, we have not one, but TWO events scheduled for this rollicking holiday. READERS WELCOME, just let me know (!

FIRST event:

SECOND event:

  • 7:00 p.m., June 16th 
    @Mike N Molly's
    Come join us for the revelry!! Music, Speaks, Drinks, Eeks, and all the Craic you can handle. There will be readings from Ulysses, the Wake, and more! This will be a bomblastic time! Watch out for Parallax Max!

Librarians of Tomorrow!

Cedric Jones to Spend Summer Vacation in RBML

For several years, RBML has enjoyed having high school students on our staff during the summer as part of our “Librarians of Tomorrow” program. The program is part of our broader effort to train the next generation of special collections librarians and gives young people a glimpse at the exciting world of special collections librarianship. This year, Cedric Jones of Central High School will be working with rare books and manuscript collections. Welcome, Cedric!

Curator Marten Stromberg Will Leave RBML

To Depart in August

Marten StrombergStudent, Grad Student, Cataloger, Curator, Impresario—Marten Stromberg has done it all in RBML and will now be leaving us to take on the rest of the world.

It is is hard to exaggerate the impact he has had on the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Whole collections and many, many gems in our collection owe their organization and, in many cases, discovery to him. "Hot Keys" Stromberg has always been our go-to guy for technical and software problems. Numerous public programs wouldn't exist in their present form without his talent for creating compelling content, acts, or buy-in by performers, poets, musicians, printers, book artists, and students of all stripes and ages.

All this, and a forever smiling and Zen-like equanimity in the face of every challenge thrown his way. We will deeply miss Marten and wish him well.

David Morris is Led to Rome

Wins Fellowship to the American Academy in Rome

 David Morris

Our congratulations go out to RBML grad student David Morris, who has recently been selected winner of the Samuel H. Kress Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize by the American Academy in Rome. With this fellowship, he will spend a year in Rome conducting research for his dissertation in Medieval Studies.

The American Academy in Rome is the premier American overseas center for independent study and advanced research and competition for its fellowships is fierce. David's achievement came amidst the competing demands of completing his MS in Library Science and curating this Summer's RBML exhibition on witchcraft. Way to go David!

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

346 Main Library, 1408 W. Gregory Drive., Urbana, IL 61801 MC-586
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