Mediaevalia at the Lilly

As one of Indiana University’s greatest resources, The Lilly Library’s rich collection of materials bears witness to the development of the history of the book and of European media culture. The series Mediaevalia at the Lilly aims to better publicize our collection of medieval and renaissance manuscripts by bringing established scholars and experts for lectures and hands-on workshops for students and faculty. The series is organized under the auspices of the Medieval Studies Institute, and run by Hildegard Elisabeth Keller (Germanic Studies) in collaboration with Cherry Williams, Curator of Manuscripts at the Lilly Library. One seminar per year is conducted by a scholar from the field of manuscript study, the history of the book, or early printing. In seeking to combine lectures with workshops, our goal is to make abstract ideas, as presented in the classroom, concrete by confronting students with the intractable nature of sources and giving them some sense of just how much can be gleaned from handwriting, type, parchment, paper, watermarks, title pages, musical notation, format, decoration, in short, all material aspects of the book over the course of the period stretching from Late Antiquity to the Reformation.

This year, Mediævalia 2013, featured Dr. Roger S. Wieck, Curator of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts at the Morgan Library & Museum. In addition, Dr. Wieck has held curatorial positions at the Walters Art Museum and the Houghton Library at Harvard. He is the author of The Prayer Book of Claude de France (2010), The Hours of Henry VIII: A Renaissance Masterpiece by Jean Poyet (2000), Painted Prayers: The Book of Hours in Medieval and Renaissance Art (1997), Time Sanctified: The Book of Hours in Medieval Art and Life (1988), and many other books and articles on medieval manuscripts. Prof. Keller’s interview with him can be seen on Youtube:

Faking the War of 1812

Faking the War of 1812
A talk by Lawrence Hott, producer/director of the documentary film, The War of 1812
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
6:30 p.m., reception to follow
The Lilly Library

Lawrence Hott will discuss the problem of historical truth in documentary film, particularly in the context of the War of 1812, a period which presents a number of challenges to a documentary filmmaker. Hott is producer/director of the documentary film, The War of 1812, broadcast on PBS in October 2011. The War of 1812 film and bonus features can be viewed online, courtesy of PBS/WNED: http://www.pbs.org/wned/war-of-1812/the-film/watch-film-and-bonus-features/

Lawrence Hott and his partner Diane Garey have been making documentary films since 1978 as part of Florentine Films, and later Hott Productions. Their productions are among the most-watched broadcasts on public television. Notable titles include John James Audubon: Drawn from Nature and Wild by Law, the story of the Wilderness Act of 1964 and three men responsible for its passage, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Hott’s awards include an Emmy, two Academy Award nominations, the duPont-Columbia Journalism Award, the George Foster Peabody Award, five American Film Festival Blue Ribbons, and Fourteen CINE Golden Eagles. He received the Humanities Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities in 1995; a Massachusetts Cultural Council/Boston Film and Video Foundation Fellowship in 2001; and the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism in 2001. He has been on the board of non-fiction writers at Smith College and has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Massachusetts Cultural Commission, and the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Hott is a former juvenile court investigator and a lawyer by training, who has said that the law and documentary filmmaking have more in common than one would think: “a lot of legal practice has to do with the presentation of arguments, working with people, and being clear in your correspondence. I can’t think of a better training for a filmmaker than three years of law school.”

The talk will be followed by a reception. Both the talk and the reception are sponsored by the Friends of the Lilly Library and take place in concert with the exhibition, The War of 1812 in the Collections of the Lilly Library, on view through December 15, 2012, in the Main Gallery of the Lilly Library. An expanded version of the exhibition is available online at: http://collections.libraries.iub.edu/warof1812/

War of 1812 Captured Online through Lilly Library Collections

 During the War of 1812, British troops set fire to the Library of Congress, destroying the collections within. Two hundred years later, however, a library has now captured the war: Indiana University’s Lilly Library, have digitized hundreds of manuscripts, books, maps, and prints that illuminate the history of the War of 1812.

A new website, The War of 1812 in the Collections of the Lilly Library, tells the story of this little-understood war through digitized primary source documents which have been made available for the first time thanks to technology and technical services staff at the IU Libraries. These items range from the official declaration of war to a receipt for canteen straps and include such resources as anti-war pamphlets, a letter describing the burning of Washington, D.C., and a satirical print of James Madison boxing King George III. Visitors to the site can access high-resolution images of the documents by following the timeline of events, browsing by tag (from Aaron Burr to Zachary Taylor), or searching by keyword.

“There aren’t many large digital projects on the War of 1812, especially not originating from the United States,” said Lilly Library Director Breon Mitchell. “This site makes a major contribution by providing not just the story of the war, but also a wealth of original books and documents that draw people into the history of the conflict in the way only primary sources can.”

The broadsides, books, and pamphlets in the project include early printings of the Star-Spangled Banner, government publications, sermons, reports, histories, and memoirs. Manuscript materials include correspondence, log books, legal documents, diaries, speeches, letter copybooks, and orderly books.

The digital archive precedes a major exhibition on the War of 1812 in the Main Gallery of the Lilly Library that will open September 2012 and run through December.

“Never before has the Lilly Library created an exhibition where every item on display is also digitized online,” said Brenda Johnson, Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries. “In this case, the online archive actually includes more fully digitized items than we can fit into the gallery exhibition. Our ability to share these documents with a broader audience makes this an especially exciting time to explore this period in American history.”

For media inquiries, contact Erika Dowell edowell@indiana.edu (812) 855-2452

About the Lilly Library

The Lilly Library is the principal rare books, manuscripts, and special collections repository of Indiana University. It is part of the Indiana University Libraries, Bloomington, under direction of the Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries. The IU Libraries support and strengthen teaching, learning, and research by providing the collections, services, and environments that lead to intellectual discovery.

Emma Lazarus: Poet of Exiles

Opening Wednesday, October 26th at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City, is an exhibition celebrating the life and work of poet and activist, Emma Lazarus, author of the poem affixed to the base of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

This exhibition explores many of the facets of Lazarus’ life as a fourth generation Sephardic-American, her work as an early advocate for immigrants and a Jewish homeland as well as her life in the “gilded” intellectual and artistic circles in which she moved in turn of the century New York City. It is this aspect of her life in which the Lilly Manuscripts Department provides some insight and documentation.

 The Lilly is home to the Gilder manuscript collection (1781–1984), which consists of the correspondence and papers of poet and editor Richard Watson Gilder and his wife, the artist Helena de Kay Gilder, and their family. Emma Lazarus was a part of the Gilder’s social and artistic milieu.

This exceptionally rich and interesting collection consists of 23,000 items and is open for use by researchers and the interested public.

Paper Dolls by Sylvia Plath

Well-known as one of the Lilly Library’s manuscript treasures is the collection of the papers of poet Sylvia Plath. Perhaps less well-known, but very engaging are her works of juvenile art, particularly her paper dolls, currently the centerpiece of an exhibition at the Owens Art Gallery, in Sackville, New Brunswick. We were very pleased to participate in this exhibit, guest curated by Dr. Anne Koval, associate professor in the fine arts department at Mount Allison University in Sackville. Dr. Koval discovered the handmade paper dolls and doll’s clothes in the Plath Archive of juvenilia during a visit to the Lilly.

The exhibition also showcases the responses of several well-known contemporary artists to the paper dolls, including an early short film by Cindy Sherman, a new immersive installation by Ed Pien, exquisite miniatures by Cybèle Young, large scale steel-cut dresses by Barb Hunt, the colourful embroideries of Anna Torma, an installation of cutouts by Jeannie Thib and the ephemeral paper doll chains of Lynne Yamamoto.

The exhibition opened September 16th and is scheduled to run until November 6th 2011 at the Owens Art Gallery. It then will travel to the Mendel Gallery (Saskatoon, SK) in spring 2012 accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, with an essay by the curator, produced with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, artsnb and a CultureWorks Development Grant from Mount Allison University. We would also like to express our appreciation to the Sylvia Plath Estate for their support and kind permission to exhibit the paper dolls.

[flagallery gid=2 align=”center” name=”Gallery”]
Images courtesy of Canada’s Telegraph-Journal. Read their article about the Owens’ exhibition here.

James I and the English Bible

King James 1Starting today, the Main Gallery will be featuring the exhibition “James I and the English Bible.” “James I and the English Bible” showcases the Lilly Library’s collection of early English Bibles, from the Coverdale Bible of 1535 to the King James Bible of 1611. This exhibition, which commemorates the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, also features a number of other important books related to James I and his reign, including the great Shakespeare First Folio of 1623. This exhibition will run through December 21.

To kick off this exhibition, Joel Silver, Associate Director and Curator of Books, will be giving a gallery talk on the subject. Silver has written numerous essays on rare books, book collecting, and the antiquarian book trade. The talk will start at 5:30pm with a reception sponsored by the Friends of the Lilly Library following.

Tell Me a Story

The Brown Fairy Book front coverCurrently on display in the Lincoln Room, the exhibition Tell Me a Story: Folklore and Folkloristics at the Lilly Library highlights materials of interest to folklorists visiting Bloomington for the 2011 Annual Conference of the American Folklore Society, October 12-15. The exhibition includes selections from the manuscript collections of Indiana University folklore scholars Stith Thompson and Richard Dorson, as well as materials from the library of British folklorists Peter and Iona Opie, books and manuscripts by Andrew Lang, and examples of several different types of collections of tales including legends, ballads, fairy tales, and nursery rhymes.

front cover of The Brown Fairy Book, edited by Andrew Lang ; with eight coloured plates and numerous illustrations by H.J. Ford. London, New York and Bombay : Longmans, Green, and Co., 1904.

Critical Collections at the Lilly Library

photograph of Pauline Kael, film critic A new exhibition highlighting
“Critical Collections” at the Lilly Library will be on display in the Lincoln Room through the month of August. The exhibition features the papers of some of the most significant, controversial writers of cultural criticism in the modern era. Noteworthy items include: American literary critic Anthony Boucher’s pioneering reviews of J. R. R. Tolkien and Ian Fleming; British literary critic Desmond MacCarthy’s correspondence with James Joyce and George Bernard Shaw; drama critic Kenneth Tynan’s original handwritten journals; and materials pertaining to the Orson Welles/Citizen Kane screenplay debate between film critics Peter Bogdanovich and Pauline Kael (pictured here).

—Craig Simpson, Lilly Library Manuscripts Archivist and exhibition curator

Donald Friedman opens Literary Sketches Exhibition at the Lilly Library May 23

sketch of William Shakespeare by Lewis Carroll

Donald Friedman, author of The Writer’s Brush: Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture by Writers, called “one of the most fascinating books of the year” by The London Times, will speak informally on authors and their art at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, May 23, 2011. Friedman’s talk celebrates the opening of the Lilly Library’s exhibition entitled “Literary Sketches: Authors as Artists,” which will include works of art by Kurt Vonnegut, Sylvia Plath, Lewis Carroll, G.K. Chesterton, Amiri Baraka, James Whitcomb Riley, Gunter Grass, Orson Welles, Henry Miller, Jean Cocteau, Federico Fellini and others.

Donald Friedman received his J.D. from Rutgers University and an L.L.M. from New York University Law School, started practicing law, married and raised two children. He also began to study fiction writing. In 2000, his novel The Hand Before the Eye won the Mid-List Press First Series Award and he was launched into a new career as a novelist.

Mr. Friedman’s book will be available for purchase at the event and is now in stock at the Friends of Art Bookshop (foabooks@indiana.edu, 812-855-1333).

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IMU exhibition showcases Slocum puzzles

Propaganda and Politics is an exhibition of puzzles from the Jerry Slocum Puzzle Collection that is currently located in the Indiana Memorial Union (IMU) across from Starbucks. The puzzles in the exhibition support a cause or portray a certain ideology, thus making them more than just a neutral pastime. It is interesting to see how puzzles could be used to support candidates and causes, and puzzles from several different eras are featured in the exhibition.

The exhibition is divided into four sections: politics, propaganda, war, and wartime. The political puzzles feature different candidates running for office, as well as governmental programs and issues. The propaganda puzzles are puzzles that have an overtly biased message that they want to get across. These puzzles are usually very patriotic or nationalistic and are meant to encourage people to support a cause or mindset. Puzzles of this type have messages like “Katch the Kaiser” or “Good Luck,” but there are also puzzles that supported the German cause as well. The puzzles in the war category feature different wars and battles and are more educational in that they portray specific battles or generals in the war. For instance, people playing with the puzzles can attempt to get the allies in Berlin or help Dewey maneuver his way into Manila Bay. Lastly, the wartime puzzles are very similar to the puzzles in the war category, but these puzzles are less informative and were more useful in helping people feel like they were a part of the war effort. Included in this section are puzzles that were sent to the soldiers fighting in the trenches in World War I, as well as a “blackout” puzzle, in which the lights must be blacked out before the air raid.

This exhibition features a variety of puzzles, and it is interesting to see how puzzles could be used to support different causes and candidates. The exhibition will be on display in the IMU until March 6, 2011.

—Brenna Henry, Exhibition curator