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  • Unidentified Crest of a Blue Greyhound in an Incunable

    While cataloging an Italian edition of St Augustine's "De civitate Dei" (Venice?: Antonio di Bartolommeo Miscomini, about 1476-1478), I was pleasantly surprised to come across a beautiful illumination. The table of contents makes up the first ten leaves of this volume, but the opening page of the text proper (leaf a1 recto) displays a stunning hand-painted border and initial "E". The border is made up of foliage, pink and blue flowers, and fruit, and is ornamented with black penwork and tiny dots of gold leaf. The two columns of text are divided by a foliate column, and the initial, which is set in a ground of gold leaf, continues this leafy motif.

  • Parfumeries & Robert de Montesquiou

    Musee retrospectif de la classe 90. Parfumeries (matieres premieres, materiel, procedes et produits) a l'exposition universelle internationale, a Paris. Rapport de M. le comte Robert de Montesquiou [Retrospective Museum of Class 90. Perfumeries (raw materials, equipment, processes and products) at the universal, international exhibition, in Paris. Report by Count Robert de Montesquiou.] The bureaucratic-looking title is barred by a bold inscription in purple ink, in the unusual, flourishing handwriting of Robert de Montesquiou, a well-known, if misunderstood figure of the Belle Epoque. Born in one of the oldest families of the French nobility, Comte Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac (1855-1921) was a prolific poet, novelist, art critic, chronicler, memoirist, as well as a designer, book collector and patron of the arts. He had ties with countless authors, artists, composers and craftsmen of the time. He was portrayed by numerous artists, including Laszlo, La Gandara, Whistler, and inspired characters in books by J. K. Huysmans, Jean Lorrain, and, most notably, Marcel Proust. His origins, lavish lifestyle and colorful personality contributed to his reputation as a 'dilettante', which prevented him from being recognized as the original and talented creator that he was. Montesquiou was a lifelong friend of Proust and served as a mentor before he was surpassed by his pupil, who borrowed some of his traits for his character, Charlus. Their correspondence, held in part in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library's Proust collection, is peppered with references to Montesquious many publications, most of which can be found at Illinois either in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library or the Kolb-Proust Archive for Research. While they were primarily acquired to support the Professor Philip Kolb research on Proust's correspondence, they constitute a rare collection of works by an author who was also a bibliophile and an important patron of binders and other book artists of his time.

  • Bloomsday Celebrations at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library

    BLOOMSDAY A Collaboration of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library and the & Languages Library June 16, 2011 3pm-5pm A Festival of Joycean Revelry: Musics, Speaks, Drinks and Eeks Rare Book & Manuscript Library Room 346 University Library 1408 West Gregory Drive Urbana Illinois

  • Julia Miller: Scaleboard Bindings and a Visit to RBML

    On Wednesday, June 1, the Rare Book & Manuscript Library welcomed book-binding historian Julia Miller to the library. Ms. Miller is the author of "Books Will Speak Plain: A Handbook For Identifying and Describing Historical Bindings" (The Legacy Press). In the morning, we invited Ms. Miller to join catalogers, binders, and others interested in the book arts in a stump the expert session at the library. We were unable to stump Ms. Miller, however, with any of the many and varied types of bindings we pulled from the vault. She taught us much about binding types and techniques and she was impressed with some of the examples we were able to show her. From sealskin to pastepaper and from bullet clasps to home-spun coverings on scabbard bindings, we studied and talked as two and a half hours flew by.

  • William Paul Schenk Papers--New Acquisition Related to Carl Sandburg

    The Rare Book Library is pleased to announce the acquisition of the William Paul Schenk Papers from his estate early in 2011. In addition to many of his own manuscripts, the William Schenk papers contain a treasure trove of articles, correspondence, and photographs concerning Carl Sandburg and his family. Schenk greatly admired the famous poet and worked for him briefly as his secretary and research assistant. Many of Schenk's photographs were taken during the time he lived with the Sandburg family on their goat farm in North Carolina. They capture Sandburgs day-to-day activities including writing in his office, spending time with his family, and sitting in his chair playing his guitar.

  • Soybean Press Prize for Literature and Art: Winner Announced!

    We are pleased to announce the winner of the Soybean Press Prize for Literature & Art, Valerie O'Brien, who has been selected for her poem, "Wind Turbines". This award was established to encourage creative work by undergraduates, further the appreciation of fine press printing, and increase collaboration between creative writers and graphic designers. (more information at the Soybean Press Website:

  • The Renaissance Campaign to Destroy Jewish Books, a lecture by David Price

    Today! April 13, 2011, 3:00 PM Rare Book & Manuscript Library, 346 Main Library The Renaissance Campaign to Destroy Jewish Books A lecture by David Price Professor of Religious Studies University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign In conjunction with the opening of the exhibition, Miracle within a Miracle: Johannes Reuchlin and the Jewish Book Controversy, which celebrates the 500th anniversary of Reuchlins defense of Jewish writings. The Rare Book & Manuscript Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the inaugural venue for an exhibition to mark the 500th anniversary of the publication of Johannes Reuchlins Augenspiegel (Eye Glasses), a work written in opposition to an imperial mandate to destroy all Jewish books. Reuchlins impassioned and ultimately successful defense of Jewish writings and legal rights represents a stunning intervention by a Christian scholar later acknowledged by a Jewish leader as a miracle within a miracle.

  • The Thirty-seconde of March

    Just came upon something interesting in the vault: A 1752 sermon entitled: The Thirty-seconde of March / On the dangers of calendar reform / and touching upon the false method of rectifying the seate of Easter. With godly warnings to the Parliament that seekes to deprive good Christians of eleven dayes of life. A sermon. By P. Lloyd, A. M. Curate of Roxwell, in Essex (London : printed for C. Bathurst, at the Cross-Keys, over-against St. Dunstans Church, Fleetstreet, M.DCC.LIII. [1752]) The brief sermon was in response to the 1752 act of Parliament that altered the calendar in England and its colonies, so as to bring it into line with most other countries of Western Europe. England's Julian Calendar was replaced by the Gregorian Calendar and the formula for calculating leap years and Easter was changed. The beginning of the legal new year was moved from March 25 to January 1. In addition, 11 days were dropped from the month of September 1752. Apparently many people, including the Rev. P. Lloyd who wrote our sermon, thought that their lives were being shortened thereby. He also argues that by changing the date of Easter and other holy days, the prayers of Christians would be rendered ineffective since they would be delivered up to God on the wrong day! After this sermon was delivered, a large group of workers rioted and marched on Parliament because they believed that they were going to lose eleven days' pay. People also feared losing 11 days of their lives. They went through the streets of London, crying "Give us back our eleven days!" Rioting spread to Bristol, in those days the second largest city in England, where several people were killed in stampedes.

  • Prof. Albert Russell Ascoli, "Performing Salvation in Dantes Divine Comedy"

    Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese Colloquium "Performing Salvation in Dantes Divine Comedy" Prof. Albert Russell Ascoli UC Berkeley Wednesday 3/30/11 3:30 p.m. The Rare Book & Manuscript Library 346 Library Please join us for the talk! Albert Russell Ascoli, Ph.D. Cornell University 1983, is Terrill Distinguished Professor. His principal field of research and teaching is Medieval and Early Modern Italian culture from the 13th to the 16th centuries, with comparative interests in the classical Latin, English, and French traditions...

  • Gerhard Mayer Collection

    The RBML cataloging project is currently tackling the Gerhard Mayer collection, which consists of about 2,800 books by, and about, the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke. The Rare Book and Manuscript Library obtained the collection in 1984, partly as a purchase and partly as a gift, from Gerhard Mayers widow, Ruth Mayer. Were able to catalog it today thanks to the Frederick J. and Margret L. Worden Endowment. The collection was compiled by Dr. Gerhard Mayer of Champaign, Illinois, during the 1960s. It includes books written in 26 languages, and they range from early publications of Rilkes work to the late 1970s. As one of the project catalogers, Ive found myself asking (along with my coworkers) how Mayer managed to find so many books about Rilke. Were especially interested in how he managed to do this without the aid of the internet.