New Donation: The Artwork of Clifford Odets

odets-painting_002 (002)The Lilly Library is pleased to announce a $1.2 million gift by Walt Whitman Odets of a collection of more than 450 paintings by his father, Clifford Odets, the iconic American playwright, screenwriter, and director.

Clifford Odets is best known as an influential playwright, screenwriter, and founding member of the Theater Group. The Lilly Library is already the home of an impressive archive of Odets’ written work, including extensive correspondence spanning his career, drafts of such landmark dramatic works as Clash by Night and Golden Boy, and drafts of screenplays of iconic films such as The Big Knife and The Sweet Smell of Success. Other drafts include films on which Odets worked that were later turned over to other writers, such as It’s a Wonderful Life.

But Odets’ creativity was not limited to the written and spoken word, and the addition of his paintings to the Lilly Library’s collections continues a longtime interest on the part of the library in writers who are also artists, represented not only by our archival holdings of the writings and artworks of such luminaries as Sylvia Plath and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., but also by our vast holdings in artists’ books and fine bindings.

The paintings joining the Lilly Library’s collections are water colors, gouaches, and crayon on paper, ranging in size from 4×6 inches to about 12×15 inches. Some of the works are even smaller, for they are rendered on 3×5 U.S. Government stamped postcards; Odets was a philatelist and knew that the cards were made of suitably archival paper. The style is naïve and strong with intense color and imagination. Odets was clearly influenced by the artists whom he himself collected; he owned works by Maurice Utrillo, John Marin, Wassily Kandinsky, and Paul Klee. Odets first exhibited his own works on paper at the J.B. Neumann Gallery in New York in 1947 and continued creating art until his death in 1963.

The addition of Clifford Odets’ art to the Lilly Library’s manuscript holdings will allow researchers, students, and aspiring artists to explore and understand the complex ways in which creativity develops over time and across multiple mediums.

We wish to extend our deep gratitude to Walt Whitman Odets for this generous gift. Dr. Odets is a practicing clinical psychologist with a background in photography and aviation. He chose the Lilly Library as the beneficiary of this extraordinary collection due to the “mid-western spirit of openness that welcomes” everyone to use the collections. We are proud to continue that tradition!

You can explore the Lilly Library’s extant Odets holdings here.

This Thursday and Friday: two events with Dr. J. Greg Perkins

Perkins1March 31st 2016, 5:30pm

Dr. J. Greg Perkins is the author of the recently published monumental work of fiction, the 19-volume series Darkness Before Mourning. One of the largest works of serious fiction ever created by a single author, the series was over 40 years in the making. It provides a remarkable window into American society, life, families, and personal relationships from the 1950s to the present. Beginning with the first volume in the series, The Announcers, each independent work forms part of a biographical continuum, exploring in profoundly dark semi-fictionalized form the author’s searing experiences. The books are published by Chatwin Books of Seattle Washington.

Born in Kokomo, Indiana, Dr. Perkins is a proud graduate of Indiana University with a B.S. in chemistry and a Ph.D. in biochemistry. A Faulkner scholar and enthusiast, and with over 30 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Perkins has been a senior executive at Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Hoffman-LaRoche, and Burroughs Wellcome. Perkins has written numerous New Drug Applications (NDAs), Investigational New Drug Applications (INDs) and scientific papers, as well as the co-author of the book, Pharmaceutical Marketing: Principles, Environment, and Practice, 2002.

Dr. Perkins will present a talk entitled Science and Literature: Two Heads of the Same Coin, with a reception to follow. The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Lilly Library.

 

April 1st 2016, 10:00am to 11:30am

Students, faculty, and the public are invited to join us for coffee and conversation to meet noted author J. Greg Perkins. Throughout years of remarkable professional accomplishments, Dr. Perkins wrote extensively, engaging in what he calls, “writing therapy,” never intending for anyone else to read or witness his works on the page until three years ago, when he began to consider adapting part of the work as a script for a play. It was while working on the script that his work was discovered and subsequently published by Chatwin Books.

Students are especially encouraged to meet this Indiana author, IU graduate, and  distinguished member of the pharmaceutical world.

Sam Loyd, Puzzle King: Exhibition and Talk by Will Shortz

Indiana University Libraries 2015Did you miss the talk by Puzzlemaster Will Shortz at the Lilly Library on November 5th? Don’t worry! Here’s your chance to be a virtual guest in our beautiful library. You can view and listen to the full presentation by Mr. Shortz here.

This fall in the Main Gallery we are proud to present an exhibition on the nineteenth-century puzzle designer Sam Loyd. This is our first puzzle exhibition in the Main Gallery and was made possible with the gracious help of co-curator Will Shortz, who, in addition to being the editor of the New York Times Crossword, is also a collector of and expert on Sam Loyd and his puzzles. A number of the items on display were loaned by Mr. Shortz for this exhibition.

The nineteenth century was a fertile time for the development of puzzles, as can be seen from the puzzles featured in our Slocum Room exhibition. By the end of the century, there had been two major international puzzle crazes, and in the last years of the century there were a few notable puzzle designers. The most prolific of these designers was the American puzzle designer Sam Loyd.

Sam Loyd began his career as a puzzle designer at sixteen when he became the chess problem editor for Chess Monthly after having designed his first puzzle at the age of fourteen. Soon he was expanding his designs into other types of puzzles. The first puzzle he designed in this new direction was The Trick Donkeys produced around 1868. This puzzle came on a card that was divided into three pieces, two with donkeys and one with two jockeys. The goal was to place the pieces so that it looks like the jockeys are riding the donkeys. It seems simple to figure out but rarely does anyone find the answer without seeing the solution. This puzzle was followed up by many other puzzles, including The Pony Puzzle, The Puzzled Neighbors, and The Wonderful 31 Game just to name a few. These puzzles were featured on an early form of advertising called trade cards, which were cards placed on store counters to advertise products. Many of these were printed by Loyd himself from his own print shop in his hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey.

As the popularity of newspapers and magazines began to grow, Loyd started contributing to many publications. His puzzles appeared in puzzle columns for newspapers such as The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, The New York Journal, The Boston Herald, and The Chicago Record-Herald. One of his most well-known puzzle publications was his monthly column in Woman’s Home Companion which he published from 1904 to his death in 1911. The puzzles in these publications were gathered and published in 1914 in the collection titled Cyclopedia of 5,000 Puzzles, Tricks and Conundrums.

Come see the exhibition Sam Loyd: Puzzle King in the Main Gallery of the Lilly Library, which will be on display through December 20th. You can also pick up a free copy of The Trick Donkeys to test out your puzzle solving skills!

Andrew Rhoda

Curator of Puzzles

Jerry Slocum, donor of the Slocum Puzzle Collection (left); Will Shortz, New York Times Crossword Puzzle Editor (center); and Andrew Rhoda ,Lilly Library Curator of Puzzles (left)
Jerry Slocum, donor of the Slocum Puzzle Collection (left); Will Shortz, New York Times Crossword Puzzle Editor (center); and Andrew Rhoda ,Lilly Library Curator of Puzzles (left)

Will Shortz Lecture and Reception: Thursday, November 5

15PuzzleImageJoin us on Thursday, November 5 at 5:30 PM as we welcome Will Shortz to the Lilly Library! Mr. Shortz will be discussing “Puzzle King” Sam Loyd in conjunction with our spectacular fall exhibition. Come in to see the exhibition, hear the talk, and stay for a reception to follow. This event is free and open to the public; seating is limited and will be filled on a first come, first serve basis.

Also join us on Wednesday, November 4 at 8:00 PM in the Whittenberger Auditorium at the Indiana Memorial Union for “The Art of the Puzzle,” a Q&A with Will Shortz, followed by a live word puzzle competition.

Born in Crawfordsville, Indiana, Will Shortz began his career at a young age. By sixteen, he was a regular contributor to Dell puzzle publications. Shortz graduated from Indiana University’s Individualized Major Program with a degree in Enigmatology. After graduating with a law degree from the University of Virginia, he returned to puzzles, becoming NPR’s Puzzlemaster in 1987 and editor of the New York Times crossword in 1993. Shortz owns the world’s largest puzzle library, with more than 25,000 puzzle books and magazines dating back to 1533.

Rational Amusements: Nineteenth-Century Puzzles on Exhibition in the Slocum Room

"Kopfzerbrecher," Anchor #8. F. Ad. Richter & Co., 1899
“Kopfzerbrecher,” Anchor #8. F. Ad. Richter & Co., 1899

One of the puzzle exhibitions this fall at the Lilly Library features puzzles from the last half of the nineteenth century. During this time period, people began to find themselves with more leisure time, and puzzles were one way that they entertained themselves and also exercised their intellects. This exhibition features the different types of amusements that were available in the late nineteenth century.

One particularly famous group of puzzles in the exhibition are the Richter Anker puzzles. Also referred to as the Anchor Stone Puzzles, they were created by the F. Ad. Richter Company of Rudolstadt, Germany (Slocum and Gebhardt 12-13). Through the company’s association with the Kindergarten educational movement, Richter began developing building block sets and other materials for educators to use (Slocum and Gebhardt 14-15).

Soon after the Richter Company developed a ceramic stone version of the Tangram, a puzzle popular with likeminded educators, which they called Der Kopfzerbrecher (Slocum and Gebhardt 20-21). Also called The Anchor Puzzle in English due to the company’s ship anchor logo, this puzzle was the first in a long line of puzzles from the company. Other puzzles from the Richter Company featured in the exhibition include the Kreis-Rätsel (Circular Puzzle), the Kreuzzerbrecher (Cross Breaker), the Blitzableiter (Lightning Conductor), and the Kobold (The Goblin).

Another famous puzzle featured in the exhibition is The 15 Puzzle. This puzzle created a craze in 1880 that was unrivaled until the production of the Rubik’s Cube. The object of the puzzle is to take a set of numbered block, place them in the provided tray in a random order and then slide the numbers to achieve the correct numerical order. One of the reasons this puzzle created such a craze was the fact that when the blocks are placed randomly, half of the time the puzzle is unsolvable. This led to situations in which one person would solve the puzzle and then give it to another person who would start from one of the impossible positions.

For a number of years the true designer of the puzzle was a mystery. Great American puzzle designer Sam Loyd claimed that he created the puzzle, accepting the fame and infamy that came with it. However, puzzle researchers Jerry Slocum and Dic Sonneveld were able to find definitive evidence that the designer was a postmaster from Canastota, New York, Noyes Chapman (109). Unfortunately for Mr. Chapman, his patent for The 15 Puzzle was rejected, most likely because it resembled another patent submitted a year earlier (Slocum and Sonneveld 100-102). Soon afterwards the puzzle traveled by word of mouth to Boston where it was first commercially produced by Matthias Rice (Slocum and Sonneveld 109).

Other puzzles include classic take-apart puzzles that are featured in Professor Hoffmann’s classic work Puzzles Old and New. Professor Hoffmann, pseudonym of English lawyer Angelo John Lewis, was the first writer to categorize puzzles. The book is considered an authority on the puzzles of the period and provided collectors in the late nineteenth century with a wealth of information previously unavailable (Hoffmann vi). Some puzzles have become so associated with Hoffmann’s book that they are known even today as “Hoffmann” puzzles (Hoffmann vi). In the exhibition are examples, both from the nineteenth century and modern reproductions, of these classic “Hoffmann” puzzles.

These items and more nineteenth century puzzles are available in this Slocum Room exhibition, where you can see the wide array of intellectual amusements that were available in the late nineteenth century. The exhibition will run until the end of the fall semester.

Andrew Rhoda

Curator of Puzzles

Cannon and Ball, ca. 1886
Cannon and Ball, ca. 1886

Works Cited

Hoffmann, Professor. Puzzles Old and New. London: Frederick Warne and Co., 1893.

—. Puzzles Old and New. Ed. L. E. Horden. Facsimile edition. London: Martin Bresse Limited, 1988.

Slocum, Jerry and Dic Sonneveld. The 15 Puzzle: How it Drove the World Crazy. Beverly Hills, CA: The Slocum Puzzle Foundation, 2006.

Slocum, Jerry and Dieter Gebhardt. The Anchor Puzzle Book: The Amazing Stories of More Than 50 New Puzzles Made of Stone. Beverly Hills, CA: The Slocum Puzzle Foundation, 2012.

 

 

 

 

Max Eastman’s Century: A Lilly Library Themester Exhibition

eastman-ii_00159edit “Max Eastman’s Century” draws on one of the richest author collections in the Lilly Library (more than 80 cubic feet). The acquisition of Max Eastman’s archives and library began with director David Randall’s letter to Max in 1957 and continues until the present, thanks to the efforts of Randall’s successors, notably Breon Mitchell (now the executor of Eastman’s estate). The writer, editor, poet, and political activist Max Eastman (1883-1969) took part in, and actively influenced, the dominant intellectual trends of the better part of the twentieth century. He knew personally the most important minds of his time and corresponded with the ones he didn’t know. The son of two progressive ministers (his mother was the first ordained female minister in the state of New York), Max grew up surrounded by people with strong views about social justice and civil rights. Following in his mother’s footsteps and with his sister Crystal as an ally, he began campaigning for women’s suffrage, becoming one of the most sought-after speakers at suffragist rallies. Leaving Columbia University, where he had been a student of John Dewey’s, without formally submitting his dissertation on Plato, he soon made his mark as an editor of The Masses and, subsequently, The Liberator, becoming one of the most important radical voices in the United States during the years leading up to and following World War I.

A prolonged stay in Moscow and on the coast of the Black Sea convinced Max that a better society could not be achieved by ideology but by scientific “engineering” (a promise embodied by Lenin and betrayed by Stalin). Through his 1924 marriage to Eliena Krylenko, Eastman became the brother-in-law of Nikolai Krylenko, the former commander of the Red Army and later Stalin’s minister of justice. Eastman was fluent in Russian, translated Trotsky, and remained, for more than four decades, one of the most active commentators on Russian affairs in the United States. Eastman wrote poetry, toured the United States lecturing about everything from the sense of humor to sex in literature, produced and narrated one of the first and enduringly important political documentaries (From Tsar to Lenin, 1937), created and hosted one of the first successful radio quiz shows, and blazed a trail for nudist beachgoers everywhere by walking around naked on the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard. After he published a frank account of his life, Enjoyment of Living (1948), critics hailed him as the Alfred Kinsey of autobiography. And he continued to have the nation’s attention: in 1959, for example, he told Mike Wallace, in widely discussed television interview, that the word “God” had no meaning for him. With his third wife, the social worker Yvette Székely (1912-2014), he retreated to his island refuge on Martha’s Vineyard, from where he continued to attack what he believed the American indifference to Russian totalitarianism.

Shunned or criticized by many of his former friends on the Left, the proudly atheistic Max never found a comfortable home among conservatives either. He ended his spectacular career on the payroll of Reader’s Digest. For a while, Max’s name even appeared on the masthead of the National Review until he withdrew, disgusted by the piousness of its contributors. Yet he insisted that he had in fact never changed his views; the century around him had changed instead, he said, and terms such as “left” and “right” had lost their significance. In his final days, Max Eastman’s main fear was that that last certainty he had was gone, too—that, after having lived through the whirlwind of a century of ideas, the day would come when he would no longer “wake up as Max.”

“Max Eastman’s Century” was developed in conjunction with the 2015 “Themester” of the College of Art and Sciences at IU, “@Work: The Nature of Labor on a Changing Planet.” It was supported by a Themester grant from the College of Arts and Sciences. The exhibition can be viewed in the Lilly Library’s Lincoln Room until November 21. Christoph Irmscher, the curator of the exhibit, has just completed a new biography of Max Eastman.

Christoph Irmscher on recovering Birds of America printer

Audubon volume IV-402On the occasion of the first Rare Book School course to be taught at Indiana University, the Lilly Library invites you to a public lecture by IU Provost Professor Christoph Irmscher.

“Recovering Havell: A New Look at Birds of America

While we are used to referring to the magnificent Birds of America (1827-1838) as Audubon’s work, it is really also that of his printer, Robert Havell, Jr. His contribution to the finished product has been marginalized by generations of devoted Audubon admirers. This talk is a first attempt to recover Havell’s impact on individual plates (which ranged from supplying backgrounds to adding in entire specimens) as well as on the work as a whole. One underlying theme of these reflections will be the extent to which an Englishman who had never seen the United States shaped a work usually defined as quintessentially “American.”

Audubon scholar and IU Professor Christoph Irmscher will speak in the Lilly Library Slocum Room at 5:30 pm on May 12. A reception will follow the talk.

A Rare Book School Lecture sponsored by the Friends of the Lilly Library.

Novelist Nicholas Delbanco to Read at The Lilly Library

On April 2, at 5:30 p.m. novelist Nicholas Delbanco will read from his new novel The Years at the Lilly Library on the campus of Indiana University Bloomington. The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Lilly Library, with additional support from the College Arts and Humanities Institute. A reception will follow the event. Called by John Gardener “one of our greatest writers,” Nicholas Delbanco has published over two dozen acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction.

His latest novel, The Years, published by Little A in January 2015, deals with the passage of time, from youth to middle age, from middle age to old. Four decades after their intense but doomed college romance, the novel’s protagonists, Lawrence and Hermia, meet again on Mediterranean cruise, falling more deeply in love now, and wondering whether or not to marry in their sixties. Moving across many years, the first part of the novel reports on their prior, separate lives and the steps toward a new life together. When Lawrence comes to visit Hermia’s home on Cape Cod she has one request: “Please stay.” What happens when he does fills the rest of this heartfelt, unforgettable novel. With enormous sympathy and keen insight, Delbanco follows Hermia and Lawrence through their final years together in Los Angeles and Cape Cod. Old scores are settled; old wounds heal. The Years is a unique book about first and final love, about the irrevocable end of things, and about what endures.

The Friends of Art Bookshop will offer copies of the novel for sale at the reading, and Mr. Delbanco has agreed to sign them.

About the Author:
Nicholas Delbanco is the Robert Frost Distinguished University Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan. His most recent book was The Art of Youth: Crane, Carrington, Gershwin, and the Nature of First Acts (Amazon Publishing/New Harvest), selected by Susan Stamberg for NPR’s Guide to 2013’s Great Reads. The long-term director of the MFA program as well as the Hopwood Awards Program at the University of Michigan, he has served as chair of the fiction panel for the National Book Awards and a judge for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction, received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and, twice, a National Endowment for the Arts Writing Fellowship.

The Years is available for sale at the Friends of Art Bookshop.

Questions? Contact The Lilly Library at (812) 855-2452.

delbanco

Orson Welles exhibition buzz

welles_01291Excitement is building for the Orson Welles exhibition at the Lilly Library! The exhibition, “100 Years of Orson Welles: Master of Stage, Sound, and Screen” opens this week, and later in the semester film screenings and an academic symposium will provide continued opportunities to explore the work of this master of many media on the 100th anniversary of his birth.

The Indianapolis publication NUVO just published a piece on the exhibition: 100 Years of Orson Welles. The IU Bloomington Newsroom press release has information on the film schedule and links to symposium information.

Craig Simpson, Manuscript Archivist at the Lilly Library and curator of the the exhibition, will give a talk on February 12 at 5:30 pm in the Lilly Library Lincoln Room.