PEN Center USA Translation Award to Stephen Kessler

Photograph of Cernuda on cover of book
Forbidden Pleasures: New Selected Poems by Luis Cernuda. Translated by Stephen Kessler. (Black Widow Press, April 2015)

Tonight the PEN Center USA celebrates its 26th Annual Literary Awards in Beverly Hills, California. Congratulations to poet and translator Stephen Kessler, winner of the 2016 PEN Literary Award for Translation for the work, Forbidden Pleasures: New Selected Poems by Luis Cernuda. (Black Widow Press, April 2015.) The book is the most complete collection of the poetry of Spanish poet Luis Cernuda to appear in English. Kessler previously translated Cernuda’s prose poems, Written in Water (City Lights Books, 2004), and won the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets for his translation of Cernuda’s later poems, Desolation of the Chimera (White Pine Press, 2009).

Luis Cernuda was a member of the Generation of 1927, a group of Spanish poets influenced by modernist movements such as Surrealism and Futurism. Leaving Spain after the fall of the Spanish republic, he taught for several years at Mount Holyoke College and then settled in Mexico in 1952.

Stephen Kessler’s papers are part of the holdings of the Lilly Library. His collection is one of a growing number of collections documenting contemporary literary translation.

PEN Center USA is a branch of PEN International, the world’s leading international literary and human rights organization.

New Indiana University Video Featuring Comic Collector Michael Uslan

Batman comic bookWith over 60,000 comic books and graphic novels in our collection, there is no doubt that we at the Lilly Library are fans of comics! A new promotional spot featuring Indiana University alum, Media School professor of practice, and Lilly Library donor Michael Uslan provides a 30-second version of Mr. Uslan’s journey from a student reading comic books in his dorm room to the executive producer of the Batman films.

You can watch the new video and also read about the Jacobs School’s role in providing the music on Inside IU Bloomington. You can also find out more about the comic book course that Michael Uslan taught at Indiana University on IU Archives’ blog.

In his introduction to the 2005 exhibition of material from his vast and deep collections of pop culture memories, Mr. Uslan described his lifelong passion for comics:

“My mother told me I learned to read from comic books when I was three. My seventh-grade English teacher informed me that it was perfectly fine for me to read comic books because they were clearly sparking my creativity. Indiana University allowed me to teach the world’s first accredited college course on comic books because they declared them worthy of academic study. DC Comics hired me to write their ‘Batman’ comics due to the international attention I received for starting my comic book course at IU. United Artists employed me as a movie studio attorney due to my study of copyright law and the comic book industry at Indiana University School of Law. DC Comics sold me the movie and allied rights to Batman because of my knowledge of the character, my respect for the character, and my credentials as a studio attorney. Batman in 1989 and Batman Begins in 2005 completed a dream I had to produce the definitive, dark, serious, plausible movies of Batman as he was created and evolved in the comics. And on the heels of Batman Begins, some 30,000 comic books from my personal collection are now a part of Indiana University’s Lilly Library collection for fans, for scholars, and for posterity. This has been my journey, and what an incredible ride it has been… and continues to be!”

Since that 2005 exhibition, Michael Uslan has continued to donate comic books and graphic novels as well as his personal papers to the Lilly Library. We are proud to provide access to these collections to researchers from around the world and also to conduct class sessions in which professors from around campus bring their students to see and learn about the fantastic history of comic books. You can search our database of Uslan comics or contact our Reference Department at liblilly@indiana.edu to find out more about how to access this remarkable collection.

Watch Us 3D Print a Death Mask!

dreiser_00004In May of 2016, the One Street Museum in Kiev, Ukraine contacted the Lilly Library about our Theodore Dreiser death mask. The One Street Museum has built an impressive collection of death masks—currently around 300—and they want to add Theodore Dreiser to that number. You can read more about this incredible and haunting collection here.

Dreiser (1871-1945) was an author of literary naturalism, known for such novels as Sister Carrie (1900) and Jeannie Gerhardt (1911).  The Lilly Library holds several collections of Dreiser materials, including manuscripts, photographs, correspondence, printed materials—and the death mask.

The traditional method of creating a copy of the mask involves using plaster to create a new mold and then casting a new mask from that. Obviously this would be a very messy process that could potentially damage the Lilly’s original, so we decided that a modern 3D print is a much more viable solution.

We contacted Tassie Gniady, the Digital Humanities Cyberinfrastructure Manager with UITS (University Information Technology Services) Research Technologies to get information on how to have a 3D print created. Tassie reached out to Jeff Rogers, Principal Project Analyst & Team Lead at ICTC (Information and Communications Technology Complex), IUPUI for the 3D scan to be made. Jeff came to the Lilly and used a GoScan! 3D scanner to create the initial digital 3D model, which we then took to Andrew Webb, the 3D Lab Coordinator with UITS Technology Center Consulting. You can find out more about IU’s 3D printing services here.

A small prototype was created, the 3D model was fine-tuned and at 7pm on Monday, June 13th the printing began.  You can watch a live stream of the print being made by following the link below:

http://go.iu.edu/1gau

We ask that you enter a user name (whatever you want it to be) so that we’ll know how many unique viewers are watching.  Then, depending upon your computer, operating system, browser, etc., you will basically be asked several questions about allowing your computer’s camera and microphone to be accessed or used. Just select “None” or “Deny” and continue.  After a few moments, the live stream will appear.

The entire print will take approximately 100 hours to complete.

Below are photos of the initial scanning process with our original death mask.  We’ve also included an image of the 3D model, which shows the support structures required for the print to be made.  Those will be removed after the print is complete.

We’re so excited to share the grim visage of Mr. Dreiser with the other side of the world without the original mask ever leaving the building, and we’re excited about the potential for collaborative partnerships that use amazing modern technology to bring the past to life. Thank you Tassie Gniady, Jeff Rogers, and Andrew Webb for making this project possible!

Zach Downey, Digitization Manager

 

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Spectral Analysis of the Boxer Codex

boxer-pigment-analysis_00005During the first week of May, Ms. Ellen Hsieh, an Everett Helm Visiting Fellowship recipient, and Dr. Christian Fischer, from the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology and the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program at UCLA, visited the Lilly Library to study the images of the Boxer Codex, one of the most important manuscripts in the Library’s collection.

The Boxer Codex was supposedly made in Manila at the end of the sixteenth century during the early Spanish colonial period. It contains Spanish-language text and 95 pages of illustrations which are not influenced, apparently, by contemporary European artistic styles. The objective of the research was to analyze the coloring materials used in the different sections of the codex in order to study the nature and provenance of raw materials as well as the production process of the codex.

Scientific analysis was conducted using portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) and fiber optics reflectance spectroscopy (FORS) in the visible and near-infrared. FORS spectra were collected with two spectrometers, a USB2000+ (Ocean Optics) operating in the visible and a UV-Vis-NIR Fieldspec 3 (ASDI, Panalytical), while pXRF qualitative data were obtained with a Niton XL3t GOLDD+ XRF analyzer (Thermo Fisher Scientific). These non-invasive technologies provide complementary information particularly useful for the identification of pigments and dyes, and have been successfully used to study other manuscripts from Europe and the Americas.

Preliminary results show that the painter(s) of the Boxer Codex used both pigments and dyes such as azurite, cinnabar and indigo. However, precise identification of the whole palette and probable mixtures will require further in-depth analysis and interpretation of the collected data.

The researchers are thankful for the financial support provided by the Lilly Library and the warm welcome and assistance from the librarians, conservators, and staff during their visit.

An Orson Welles birthday present

Label from a laquer disc for Ceiling Unlimited, Rulers of the Earth
Label from a laquer disc for Ceiling Unlimited, Rulers of the Earth
Earlier this week, the IU Libraries and the National Recording Preservation Foundation announced a project to preserve, digitize, and make available online all the Orson Welles radio recordings held in the Lilly Library.

It is the largest trove of Welles recordings in existence, and most are originals cut directly from the radio broadcasts as they aired. Experts from IU’s Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative will capture the audio from several hundred fragile lacquer discs and preserve it digitally to the highest standards.

May 6 is the 101st anniversary of the birth of Orson Welles, so we thought a sneak preview of the project would be a great way to celebrate.

We present today one episode of the Welles production Ceiling Unlimited. Sponsored by the Lockheed-Vega Aircraft Corporation, producers of the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber, the series focused on patriotic stories from the world of aviation. The fifteen minute episodes ran weekly from November 1942 to February 1943, and took a variety of forms. The first episode told the story of the B-17. Others dramatized real-life stories of aviators. Some episodes took a more imaginative turn.

The recording shared here was broadcast on the first anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It imagines a meeting in hell, convened by the Devil– played by Orson Welles, of course. Attending the meeting are four historical leaders who sought to conquer the world: Napoleon, Philip the II of Spain, Louis XIV, and Kaiser Wilhelm. They discuss Hitler’s efforts to do the same and consider the role of the airplane in wartime.

Welles the narrator eventually interrupts the conversation, with a sigh: “Ladies and gentlemen, excuse me. I think I’ve had enough of playing the Devil. And just for a moment I’d like to be Orson Welles, taxpayer, citizen.” He concludes the broadcast with a somber message of vigilance, a vow to “never again be caught with folded wings, while madmen fly across the sun…”

Listen to the full episode: Rulers of the Earth

Over the course of the coming year, look for more previews from our project, Orson Welles on the Air: Radio Recordings and Scripts, 1938-1946. In August 2017, the IU Libraries will be proud to host the most complete original source of audio for Orson Welles’s radio work, with the highest extant sound quality, presented in a web site rich in supplemental materials for exploring the work of this radio innovator.

Happy “Bird-Day” to John James Audubon!

audubon-vol-1-plate_001J.K. Lilly, Jr.’s copy of the double elephant folio of John James Audubon’s Birds of America (1827-1838) is one of the most popular attractions at the Lilly Library today. Turning one page every week, it would take almost eight and a half years for us to feature all 435 beautiful hand-colored plates in the four volumes… and that’s just what we plan to do.

Many visitors have enjoyed the birds over the years, and since we launched our Twitter account @IULillyLibrary last year, many fans all over the world have enjoyed our “Flipping the Bird” feature. But we’ve been pecking around the plates sporadically, featuring a big bird here and a small bird there. We showed off the spectacular Pink Flamingo in honor of John Waters’ visit to campus and even discovered a “lost” plate for some cheeky April Fool’s Day fun.

But today, on what would be John James Audubon’s 231st birthday, we’ve turned back to Volume 1, Plate I—the Wild Turkey. And from now on, we’ll turn the page once a week in order until we see every duck, owl, songbird, and raptor. So whether you stop by our gallery every week or visit us virtually on Twitter, join us for the next eight years as we flip the bird and celebrate one of our favorite treasures!

Rebecca Baumann, Education & Outreach Librarian

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.

Color Our Collections: The Lilly Library Coloring Book

Lilly-coloring-book-2Coloring books are all the rage, and February 1-5 is #ColorOurCollections week on Twitter! Special Collections libraries around the world are posting images from their collections for people to print and color. This project was started by the New York Academy of Medicine; you can search Twitter for the #ColorOurCollections hashtag to find many other coloring books that will inspire you to grab your markers, crayons, and colored pencils and do what you could never do in our Reading Room — add your own color to images from our beautiful rare books. We’ve chosen woodcut images from a wide array of books; you’ll find Albrect Durer’s famous four horsemen of the apocalypse, flowers from a 16th-century herbal, and beautiful and intricate designs from William Morris’s Kelmscott Press. We hope you enjoy coloring our collections as much as we enjoy getting the chance to work with these marvelous books every day! And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @IULillyLibrary.

Download the full coloring book here: http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/Lilly-Library-Coloring-Book.pdf

 

Welcome to the new Lilly Library Request System

home-page

After six months of planning, the staff of the Lilly Library is happy to announce its new online request and workflow system. If you are planning to visit the Lilly Library Reading Room or order reproductions of Lilly Library materials, you may now register online and make requests through IUCAT and Archives Online.

The Lilly Library Request System debuts today, Thursday, January 28. The system is new to most of us at the Lilly Library, but it is in use at nearly 60 other special collections libraries and archives throughout the United States.

Visit this link or look for the big red button on the Lilly Library home page to sign up: https://iub.aeon.atlas-sys.com/

Once you create an account, you may:

  • search IUCAT and look for the “Lilly Library: Request This” button on Lilly Library records
  • find manuscript materials in IU’s Archives Online and look for the “Request” link in the side menu
  • make reservations to use materials in the Reading Room
  • place orders for digital images or photocopies
  • have access to all of your current, past, and saved requests
  • and if you are teaching a class at the Lilly Library, you can collaborate with a librarian to create an online list of materials to use in class!

Farewell to filling out cards by hand! Hello to requesting with a click!

Tweeting Presidential Signatures

Our most famous presidential signature: George Washington accepting the presidency of the United States.
Our most famous presidential signature: George Washington accepting the presidency of the United States.

The Lilly Library is well known for its remarkable collections of American history. To celebrate the year leading up to the 2016 presidential election, we’ll be tweeting the signatures of all 43 United States presidents. Each signature will be tweeted on the president’s birthday. Zach Downey has been combing our archives to find interesting examples of the John Hancock of each of our Commanders in Chief. We’ve prioritized signatures from the years during which each individual held the presidency, though this is not possible in all cases. This archival scavenger hunt shows how rich and deep the Lilly Library archives are. Each signature derives from a document with its own story to tell.

Watch our blog for updates to this presidential project, and follow us on Twitter @IULillyLibrary to see all 43 presidential signatures in the upcoming year!

Rebecca Baumann, Education and Outreach Librarian

Zach Downey, Digitization Manager