Warm impressions of the Lilly Library

Alexander McCall Smith, best-selling author of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series (among others) mentions the Lilly Library with his usual warmth and gentleness on page 156 of his 2009 Isabel Dalhousie novel The Lost Art of Gratitude London: Little, Brown, 2009, in Isabel’s voice:

“‘And there’s to be a major conference to mark each new volume.  Bloomington, Indiana. Tel Aviv. Helsinki. Siena. Sydney.
She watched him.  He was quite still. ‘Starting off in Bloomington,’ she went on. ‘Have you been there, Professor Lettuce?’ Lettuce shook his head. He had coloured slightly, she noticed.
‘I had a wonderful visit there,’ Isabel said. ‘A few years ago—in the spring.  The blossom was out and it was just perfect. I was very well looked after.  They took me to the Lilly Library.  They have the most remarkable collection there—literary papers from all sorts of people, all neatly boxed away.  And an astonishing collection of miniature books. Tiny ones. Smaller than that plum tomato you’re trying to eat. You should impale it on your fork, you know.'”

McCall Smith visited Bloomington in April 2009 to give a public talk in the Indiana Memorial Union’s Whittenberger Auditorium as a guest of the College Arts and Humanities Institute at Indiana University.

Special collections in the Lilly Library — including the miniature books and works by Alexander McCall Smith — may be requested for use in the library’s reading room during operating hours.

Bloomington, Lilly Library in Washington Post

In a recent article in the Travel section of the Washington Post, Washington writer Robin Soslow featured many of the local treasures—including the Lilly Library, of course—that make Bloomington the unique place it is. Soslow was particularly taken with the Lilly Library’s large collections of mechanical puzzles and miniature books, as well as the many rare and unique items in this summer’s main exhibition: Of Cabbages and Kings: Unexpected Treasures of the Lilly Library, on display through September 4, 2010.

Read the full article

Michael Uslan at MCPL on May 9

Batman comic book

Michael Uslan, executive producer for the Batman films and author of America at War: A History of War Comics as well as other books and comic books, will give a talk at the Monroe County Public Library in downtown Bloomington on Sunday, May 9 at 2:00 p.m. about the Golden Age of comic books. Mr. Uslan’s visit is part of this year’s One Book One Bloomington and Beyond, which is centered on Michael Chabon’s novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.

The Lilly Library holds the Michael E. Uslan Collection of comic books, graphic novels, action figures, and popular culture collectibles. The comic books and graphic novels from this collection may be searched in a special database and requested through the IU Libraries’ online catalog, IUCAT. Collection inventories for the action figures and popular culture collectibles can be found here.

To learn more about comic books at the Lilly Library, please join us on April 19, when Literature Cataloger Whitney Buccicone will present “Whiz! Bam! Pow! Collecting Comics at the Lilly Library,” showcasing the Lilly Library’s comic book collections and providing instruction on how to access this excellent resource.

Lilly Library collections aid Middle Eastern poetry event at IU Art Museum

al-Bukhari cover small

The Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, and the IU Art Museum, in association with the Near Eastern Language and Culture Student Organization and the Turkish Student Organization are presenting a series of events at the IU Art Museum entitled Intersections: Middle Eastern Poetries in/and the Arts, April 1, 8 and 15 from 7–9 p.m.

The striking image seen here, the cover of al-Bukhari’s Sahih, is part of the Allen Mss. collection and was used in creating the poster for this series of events.

Yasemin Gencer, IU Ph.D. student in Islamic Art, also drew on these collections to create a permanent online exhibition of Islamic materials entitled From Pen to Printing Press: Ten centuries of Islamic book arts in Indiana University Collections, which was launched earlier this year.

View a schedule for Intersections: Middle Eastern Poetries in/and the Arts and other images from the Allen Mss. collection.

Ensemble Lipzodes performs at the Lilly Library on April 6

Ensemble Lipzodes CD

This coming Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. in the Slocum Room at the Lilly Library, Ensemble Lipzodes, currently in Quito, Ecuador to perform at the Festival de Música Sacra, will give a concert and lecture celebrating the release of the group’s most recent CD, Oy Hasemos Fiesta.

“The ensemble’s unique name comes from a creative misinterpretation of the writing on the flyleaf of MS 1, Santa Eulalia, from the Guatemalan Music Manuscripts. What at first glance seems to say ‘Lipzodes,’ actually is the first part of a passage which continues further: ‘LibRodeSancta olaya Puyumatlan. Este libro de canto hize yo franc de Leon maestro deste pueblo de sancta olaya. hizelo En el año De mill y quinientos y ochenta y dos annos. Franc De Leon.’ In an orthographic transformation typical of the region, the letters ‘b’ and ‘p’ became exchanged, and the ‘R’ lost its vertical bar, to become what appeared to be a ‘Z.'” (From press release)

This flyleaf will be on display the evening of this concert; other items from the late 16th–early 17th century Guatemalan Music Manuscripts collection will be on display in this summer’s Main Gallery exhibition: Of Cabbages and Kings: Unexpected Treasures of the Lilly Library.

Come hear Juan Carlos Arango (shawms), C. Keith Collins (dulcians), Yonit Kosovske (organ), Anna Marsh (dulcians, recorder), Kelsey Schilling (dulcians, recorder), and Wolodymyr Smishkewych (voice, percussion) here at the Lilly Library next Tuesday, April 6.

Mondays at the Lilly Library

Manco Ccapac, first Inca ruler

As part of its 50th Anniversary celebration, the Lilly Library is pleased to offer a series of events this year entitled Mondays at the Lilly Library. Each of these Monday afternoon talks features a member of the Lilly Library staff highlighting some of the treasures found within these walls.

On Monday, April 5, 2010, Rebecca Cape, Head of Reference and Public Services at the Lilly Library, will highlight some Latin Americana, including items from the Bernardo Mendel Collection, such as the circa 1760 portrait of Manco Ccapac, first Inca ruler seen here on the left.

Then on April 19, 2010, Literature Cataloger Whitney Buccicone will present “Whiz! Bam! Pow! Collecting Comics at the Lilly Library.” Whiz! Bam! Pow! will showcase the Lilly Library’s comic book collections and provide instruction on how to access this excellent resource.

On May 3, 2010, James Canary, Head of Conservation at the Lilly Library, will host a talk entitled “The Book in the Himalayas.”

Associate Director and Curator of Books at the Lilly Library, Joel Silver, has already given two talks in this series. In February, he presented J.K. Lilly, Jr. (1893–1966), whose collection allowed for the founding of the Lilly Library in 1960. For most of his life, J. K. Lilly, Jr., of Indianapolis, was a devoted collector in many different fields. For some three decades, beginning in the mid–1920s, Mr. Lilly’s collecting attention was focused on assembling one of the finest private libraries of rare books and manuscripts in the world. Mr. Lilly’s collection, which was quite wide–ranging in scope, was particularly strong in American and British literature, American history, voyages and travels, and the history of science and medicine. In the mid–1950s, Mr. Lilly donated his collection of 20,000 books and 17,000 manuscripts to Indiana University, where it became the founding collection of the Lilly Library. Earlier this month, Joel Silver gave a talk which focused on the examples of early printed materials here at the Lilly Library.

All of the events in this series take place on Mondays at 4:00 p.m. in the Slocum Room of the Lilly Library. Please check our calendar or the 50th Anniversary Calendar of Events for more information.

View more images relating to the Lilly Library materials discussed in these talks.

Eileen Julien to read from Travels with Mae, Thursday, February 11

Travels with Mae

Eileen M. Julien, Professor of Comparative Literature, African American and African Diaspora Studies, and French and Italian at IUB, will read from her recent book Travels with Mae: Scenes from a New Orleans Girlhood at the Lilly Library next Thursday, February 11, 2010 at a reception honoring the 2009 publication.

Travels with Mae is a series of vignettes at once tender and full of doubt. Eileen Julien tells the story of her girlhood, young womanhood, and cultural and political awakening against the backdrop of New Orleans in the 1950’s and 60’s. Not only the story of the author’s coming of age, this is a loving portrait of family life. Julien gives an insider’s perspective on New Orleans culture. With her we attend Carnival balls and parades, family picnics and swimming parties, and survive hurricanes Betsy and Katrina. Along the way, we meet countless aunts, uncles and cousins, and are privy to family spats, her mother’s upstairs closet, and kitchens stretched from New Orleans to Washington, D.C., rural Louisiana to New York, Paris to Bordeaux and Dakar.” Read the full IU Press description.

The reception will be held on Thursday, February 11, 2010 from 4–6pm in the Lilly Library; at 4:30pm, Sandra Zagarell, Department of English, Oberlin College, will speak and Eileen Julien will do a short reading. This event is presented by Indiana University Press, the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, the Department of Comparative Literature, the Department of French and Italian, and the Lilly Library.

Artworks on WFIU features the Lilly Library

In celebration of the Lilly Library’s 50th Anniversary, WFIU’s Artworks program recently presented a compilation of past episodes featuring some of the people and collections that make the Lilly Library the treasure that it is today.

David Wood hosts this episode, which includes his October 2008 visit with Curator of Puzzles, Jillian Hinchliffe (The Lilly Library’s Puzzling Collection) as well as Megan Meyer’s visit to the Lilly Library in September 2009 (The Lilly Library: Anything But Hands Off). Joel Silver, Curator of Books, talks about Shakespeare’s first folio; Becky Cape, Head of Reference and Public Services, explains why a book might be published in miniature form; and IU English Professor Christoph Irmscher shares his fascination with the primary sources found only in the Lilly Library.

The broadcast also includes David Brent Johnson’s piece on last summer’s exhibition Are We There Yet? The Age of the Automobile.

Listen to the full WFIU Artworks broadcast from January 12, 2010.

Peter Bogdanovich to visit IUB

Paper Moon movie poster

On Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 4pm, the Lilly Library will present “A Conversation with Peter Bogdanovich” in Room 251 of the Radio–TV Building on the campus of Indiana University, Bloomington.

Bogdanovich was born in 1939 in Kingston, New York. He attended Stella Adler’s Theatre Studio and has appeared on stage, screen and television. He was film critic for Esquire, The New York Times, Cahiers du Cinema among others, and has written numerous books on American cinema, most notably The Cinema of Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, and This is Orson Welles. He also wrote The Killing of the Unicorn: Dorothy Stratten (1960–1980) based on his relationship with the Playboy centerfold who was murdered by her estranged husband.

He is the owner/founder of several production companies including: Saticoy Productions, Inc., Copa de Oro Productions and Moon Pictures. Bogdanovich directed his first feature film Targets, starring Boris Karloff in 1968. His breakthrough film, however, was The Last Picture Show (1971) based on the Larry McMurtry novel. Several successful and critically acclaimed films followed, notably his documentary Directed by John Ford (1971) and the comedies, What’s Up Doc? (1972) and Paper Moon (1973). Subsequent films include Daisy Miller (1974), They All Laughed (1981), Mask (1985), and The Thing Called Love (1993). He is also credited for the screenplays of The Last Picture Show, its sequel Texasville, What’s Up Doc?, and many others.

You can learn more about Peter Bogdanovich by exploring the Lilly Library’s Bogdanovich Manuscript Collection. An inventory and finding aid are also available for this collection.

And, of course, you can come to Room 251 in the Radio–TV building and meet Mr. Bogdanovich on Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 4pm!

WFHB Interviews Curator of Manuscripts

Last week, WFHB Interchange host Dave Stewart interviewed our own Cherry Williams about the Lilly Library, its collections and 50th anniversary, and her role as Curator of Manuscripts. Cherry talked about rare books and special collections at IU predating the Lilly Library, as well the history of IU’s treasured rare books, manuscripts and special collections library.

Many of the people who visit the Lilly Library, including WFHB’s Dave Stewart, are struck by the unique collections and feel a sense of awe or excitement when surrounded by the special materials housed within the Lilly Library building. As Cherry explained in her interview, there may be a number of reasons for this common experience. Some people are fascinated by the antiquity of many of the Lilly Library’s collections; there are, for example, medieval manuscripts dating from the 12th century, a Gutenberg Bible from the 15th century, and copies of the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Others are excited by a particular item’s provenance, or history of ownership. What famous person owned (and touched) an item before it came to be at the Lilly Library? You would be surprised!

Finally, what strikes many Lilly Library visitors – and what drew Cherry Williams to apply for her post as Curator of Manuscripts – is that all of these wonderful collections of rare and special materials are accessible to the general public. None of the items in the Lilly Library are permitted to leave the Lilly Library, but nearly all of them may be viewed by anyone who wants to see them – either in one of the library’s galleries or by request in the Reading Room (which was renovated just last summer).

In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the Lilly Library will present three exhibitions this year the first of which is called Treasures of the Lilly Library.

You can listen to the entire WFHB interview with Cherry Williams online, or download it, at http://www.wfhb.org/news/interchange-cherry-williams-inside-ius-lilly-library.