Halloween Countdown: 13 Spooky Treasures of the Lilly Library, Part 1

To celebrate Halloween, we’ll be counting down thirteen of the weirdest, creepiest, and most unusual items found in the depths of the Lilly Library’s collections. Among the most beautiful and hallowed books treasured by collectors throughout generations, we’ve accumulated some objects that also excite the dark side of our imagination… and what better time to revel in the dark, strange, and fantastic than Halloween? We’ll be posting all thirteen here on our blog, but you can also follow us on Twitter @IULillyLibrary to see more images of these spooky treasures.

Number 13: “Awful Murder and Mutilation of a Woman, in Whitechapel” (ca. 1875).

 Believe it or not, this pamphlet is not about Jack the Ripper. The Ripper didn’t stalk the alleys of Whitechapel until 1888, fourteen years after this was published. This pamphlet describes a murder that was, in its time, as famous as those of the Ripper. Henry Wainwright was a bankrupt owner of a brushmaking business who murdered his mistress Harriet Lane. Wainwright had been living for over three years as both himself–with a wife and five children–and also as “Mr Percy King,” an alias he used for his life with his mistress who he “married” in 1871. When he lost his business and could no longer sustain his double life, he shot Harriet, dismembered her, and attempted to dissolve her body in chloride of lime.

Wainwright’s crime might never have been discovered if it weren’t for his former employee Alfred Stokes. A year after the murder, Wainwright asked Stokes to help him move some parcels from his warehouse. Stokes smelled a foul odor seeping from one of the packages, and, suspecting that Wainwright was stealing the human hair used in brushmaking, opened it. He found not hair but a human hand. He quickly covered it up and allowed Wainwright to get into his cab and leave. Stokes ran at a discreet distance behind the cab until he found a police officer willing to listen to his tale–which took several tries. When they opened the parcels, they found human remains and arrested Wainwright and his new lady companion, the dancer Alice Day. At the brushmaking warehouse, police found an open grave filled with chloride of lime, a hammer, a chopper, and a spade. They arrested Wainwright, along with his brother Thomas and mistress Alice Day as accessories. The arrest and trial filled the penny papers and scandal sheets for months. Victorians loved nothing so much as a good murder, and they followed the story with avid interest. The story had many elements that made it exciting–the double life of Wainwright and Harriet, his new mistress, the beautiful dancer Alice Day, and the dramatic nature of the crime’s discovery, including Alfred Stokes’ heroic jog after a murderer in a cab. This pamphlet from the Lilly Library’s collection is a rare relic of that time… though perhaps we are not so different today in our interest in morbid scandals and hidden crimes. Henry Wainwright was sentenced to death and hanged on December 21, 1875.

This pamphlet–which tells the whole story of Wainwright’s crime, trial, and death–can be found in the Lilly Library’s London Lowlife Collection. See the inventory here: http://go.iu.edu/Jax or see the digitized collection here: http://go.iu.edu/Jay (IU affliated users only).

Number 12: Theodore Dreiser’s death mask (1945)

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There’s no question that death masks are creepy–they are wax or plaster casts of a person’s face made after they are deceased. The practice dates back to the middle ages and continued into the 20th century. Death masks served many purposes; in the 18th and 19th centuries, they were used to record the features of unknown corpses for later identification. More commonly, they were used as the basis for portraits or simply as a reminder of a beloved friend or relative.

The Lilly Library has several death masks in its collections, including Frederick Tennyson (Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s brother) and Clifford Odets. We also have a life mask (made while the subject is still living) of Abraham Lincoln. We chose to feature Dreiser because of his gloomy visage and reputation in life for being a rather nasty fellow. Along with the mask, the Lilly Library holds manuscript drafts of Dreiser’s Dawn: An Autobiography of Early Youth, a memoir of his difficult childhood and adolescence in Indiana, written from 1912-1915 but ultimately suppressed by the author, who came to have misgivings about the blunt quality of the work, especially his own depiction of teen sexuality. Learn more about the Dreiser papers here: http://go.iu.edu/JaH

 

Number 11: Photograph of Lizzie Borden (ca. 1889)

pearson-ii_00002Perhaps you’ve heard this charming rhyme:

Lizzie Borden took an ax / And gave her mother forty whacks. / When she saw what she had done, /She gave her father forty-one.

Most of us have heard the story of Lizzie Borden at one time or another–it is one of America’s most famous unsolved murder cases. In 1892 in Fall River, Massachusetts, Andrew and Abby Borden–the father and stepmother of 32-year-old Lizzie–were brutally murdered. Actually, Abby was given 19 “whacks” and Andrew 11–one of which split his eyeball clean in half. Lizzie was acquitted after a huge public trial, the circumstantial evidence (a burned dress and hatchet) dismissed. Ever since then, people have wondered if Lizzie really did it. This photograph of Lizzie comes from the papers of Edmund Lester Pearson, a librarian who wrote several volumes of true crime in the early 20th century. He was fascinated by the Bordon case and collected this photograph, along with a letter, of Lizzie. The photo was taken around 1889, several years before the murder. Learn about Pearson’s papers here: http://go.iu.edu/JaJ or his books here: http://go.iu.edu/JaK

Stay tuned the next installment of Spooky Treasures on October 19th and be sure to follow us on Twitter @IULillyLibrary to see more images of these spooktacular items.

 

 

Rebecca Baumann

Education and Outreach Librarian / Resident Ghoul

Celebrating Banned Books Week

rg136-k73-1833_00002Banned Books Week 2015 (September 27–October 3) is sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) to “promote awareness of challenges to library materials and celebrate freedom of speech.”

ALA promotes your freedom to choose any material to read as well as the freedom for authors to express their opinions even if that opinion might be considered unpopular.

Libraries and schools around the country face attempts to remove or restrict materials, based on the objections of a group or sometimes a single person; this attempt to restrict is considered a challenge. Materials that are removed from reading lists and bookshelves are considered banned.

“Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.” (ALA website)

Books have been subject to censorship for centuries, and the Lilly Library has many books that were considered sensational, scandalous, or vulgar at some point in history.

One such controversial book is The Fruits of Philosophy, or the Private Companion of Young Married People by Charles Knowlton. It is a miniature book published in 1832 about birth control. The text contained a summary of what was then known on conception, listed a number of methods to treat infertility and impotence, and explained birth control in plain language and without moral judgements. The monograph was printed small–81 millimeters to be exact–so that it could easily be hidden by the patients to whom Dr. Knowlton gave it.

Knowlton was prosecuted, fined, and later (after a second edition was more widely circulated) imprisoned for three months hard labor for publishing the book. In the UK, social reformers Charles Bradlaugh and Annie Besant were also prosecuted for publishing and distributing the book. The publicity from these trials only increased the popularity of the little volume, and it is credited by scholars for popularizing contraception in Great Britain and America.

The Lilly Library’s copy of The Fruits of Philosophy comes from the library of miniature book collector Ruth Adomeit, whose over 16,000 tiny volumes are now housed among the Lilly Library’s collections. The case in which she stored it is wrapped with baby-themed wrapping paper—a somewhat cheeky housing for a book that once sent men and women to prison.

Modern books are still being challenged. The Lilly Library has copies of these controversial titles–and many more:

  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
    • Considered “anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic and just plain filthy.”
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
    • “Lord” and “Oh Lord” used as expletive
  • To Kill a Mockingbrid by Harper Lee
    • Portrays racial inequality, rape, has objectionable language
  • Adventures of Huckelberry Finn by Mark Twain
    • Racially offensive, uses “coarse” vernacular language
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
    • Portrays alcohol/cigarettes, has sexual content, uses vulgar language
  • Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
    • Portrays magic and witchcraft

For more information about Banned Books Week visit www.ala.org/bbooks/.

Kelsey Emmons
Graduate Student in Library Science; Lilly Library Public Services Intern

Calendrier Magique Featured on Slate Vault

bf1532-c76_00034The Lilly Library’s copy of a rare 19th-century Parisian occult calendar is featured today on Slate.com’s history blog, The Vault. The book, with text by Austin de Croze and colored lithographs by Manuel Orazi, was produced in a limited run of 777 copies (777 being considered a sacred number in occultist practice). The Lilly’s copy is one of an unknown number of even rarer presentation copies, with numerous manuscript annotations and an inscription from the author.  The beautiful and darkly ornate imagery recalls the vogue of Satanism amid the decadence of fin de siècle Paris.

You can view the full Slate article here: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_vault/2014/08/29/history_of_the_occult_magic_calendar_by_austin_de_croze_and_manuel_orazi.html

The calendar will be on display in the Lilly’s summer exhibition through August 30th, after which it can be viewed in its full glory in the Lilly Library’s Reading Room.

Elmore Leonard at the Lilly Library

A small, interesting collection of author Elmore Leonard’s papers (http://purl.dlib.indiana.edu/iudl/findingaids/lilly/InU-Li-VAC2547) is available for research use at the Lilly Library. Leonard, who passed away at the age of 87 on Aug. 20, 2013, revolutionized the crime fiction genre (which had become grim and heavy-handed) with his distinctively snappy dialogue and fast-paced, often comedic storylines in novels like Get Shorty, Rum Punch, Freaky Deaky, Out of Sight, and LaBrava (winner of the 1984 Edgar Award). Many of these works were adapted into notable feature films, sometimes by Leonard himself. Late in his career, he turned to writing and producing TV drama with the successful “backwoods noir” series Justified.

The Leonard, Elmore mss. contain materials from the crucial period of 1970-1988, when Leonard transformed himself from a writer of Westerns into a crime novelist. Correspondence includes letters from Leonard recounting his struggles (“I’ve been getting by… on the strength of style and characterization in lieu of a good story… So what I’m going to do now is plot better stories. I’ll show ‘em.”) and eventual successes to his literary agent H.N. Swanson; letters from Leonard to Clint Eastwood, Kirk Douglas, and Burt Reynolds concerning their respective screen adaptations (Joe Kidd, Posse, Stick) of Leonard’s work; as well as a letter from Paul Newman, who starred in the movie adaptation of Leonard’s novel Hombre, regarding the author’s script The Hunted. Publishing materials include ad copy, press releases, and a rejection notice from Random House. Legal documents include contracts, copyright assignments, and agreements.

-Craig Simpson, Lilly Library Manuscripts Archivist

Excerpt from a letter from Elmore Leonard to his literary agent H.N. Swanson, dated September 31, 1981.
Excerpt from a letter from Elmore Leonard to his literary agent H.N. Swanson, dated September 31, 1981.

Joel Silver appointed director of Lilly Library

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries Brenda L. Johnson has announced the appointment of Joel Silver as the director of the Lilly Library, effective April 1.

“Joel is known internationally within the academy for his impeccable credentials as a rare books curator, a prolific scholar and brilliant professor,” Johnson said. “Over the past decade that Joel has served as associate director and most recently as interim director, Joel has become known for his collaborative leadership style and diligent work ethic. I have full confidence that he will be an outstanding director for the Lilly Library.”

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An undergraduate English major at the University of California, Los Angeles, Silver went on to earn his Juris Doctor from Whittier College School of Law and his MLS at Indiana University. He began his long-standing career with the Lilly Library in 1983 and has served in multiple capacities: operations manager, curator of books, associate director to former Lilly director Breon Mitchell and interim director for two separate appointments. In addition, Silver is an adjunct associate professor and director of the special collections specialization in the IU School of Library and Information Science and an adjunct faculty member in the Department of English.

Silver has also made significant academic contributions with his scores of published articles, multiple books and numerous exhibition catalogs. He has a distinguished record as a lecturer and leader of rare-books-related workshops, and he has curated many exhibitions at the Lilly Library, including “The Reign of Charles II,” “J.K. Lilly, Jr.: Bibliophile,” “English Renaissance Prose” and “Five Centuries of Music.” His most recent book, “Dr. Rosenbach and Mr. Lilly: Book Collecting in a Golden Age,” was published by Oak Knoll Press in 2011.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve as the director of the Lilly Library, one of the greatest repositories of rare books and manuscripts in the world,” Silver said. “The Lilly Library is known internationally for its broad and deep collections in many different subject areas, as well as for its commitment to serve all who wish to use them. I’m looking forward to continuing to build these collections, and to taking advantage of emerging technologies to help make them available to new audiences around the world.”

Consistently ranked among the nation’s top libraries for rare books, Indiana University’s Lilly Library contains more than 400,000 rare books, more than 150,000 pieces of sheet music and more than 7.5 million manuscripts — pivotal works of literature, history and shared culture.

The Lilly holds some of the university’s most important treasures, including the New Testament of the Gutenberg Bible; the first printed edition of Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales”; the First Folio of Shakespeare; John James Audubon’s “The Birds of America”; an extensive Abraham Lincoln collection; personal papers of Orson Welles and Sylvia Plath; and George Washington’s letter accepting the presidency.

The Lilly Library, on Seventh Street on Indiana University’s Bloomington campus, is part of the IU Bloomington Libraries. Regular business hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Admission is free and open to the public.

A student encounters Sylvia Plath at the Lilly Library

February 11th was the fiftieth anniversary of Sylvia Plath’s suicide. Two new biographies appeared this month to mark the occasion, see the New York Times review for an assessment of the works. Both authors paid a visit to the Lilly Library during their research, but a more unusual account of an experience of the Plath collections at the Lilly Library appeared online in the The Daily Beast. Former student employee Jessica Ferri describes her encounter in Touching Sylvia Plath’s Hair.

History, Memory and Campus Protest during the Long 1960s

Craig Simpson, Lilly Library manuscripts archivist, and his colleague Gregory Wilson, University of Akron, History Department, discussed “Above the Shots: The Kent State Shootings and the Politics of Truth, Trauma and Reconciliation” at this year’s Oral History Association Annual Conference recently held in Denver. Craig and Gregory joined a panel of scholars who described how oral histories have been used to present a more complete picture of the protests on college campuses in the 1960s and 1970s. C-SPAN 3 recorded the presentation. You can view the session online.

New online home for Slocum Puzzles

 The Lilly Library and Indiana University’s Digital Library Program are thrilled to announce the debut of the new online presence for the Jerry Slocum Mechanical Puzzle Collection: http://www.dlib.indiana.edu/collections/slocum/ The collection is one of several featured in the Indiana University’s new Image Collections Online site.

The Jerry Slocum Collection of mechanical puzzles embodies a lifetime pursuit of the intriguing and the perplexing. The collection is one of the largest of its kind in the world, with over 34,000 puzzles. Unlike word or jigsaw puzzles, mechanical puzzles are hand-held objects that must be manipulated to achieve a specific goal. Popular examples include the Rubik’s cube and tangrams. The puzzles in the collection represent centuries of mathematical, social, and recreational history from across five continents.

The online database currently allows researchers and puzzle enthusiasts to search and browse over 23,000 items from the Slocum collection, and soon it will include the entire puzzle collection. Users will also be able to request delivery of some items to the Lilly Library’s Reading Room for hands-on use and research.

The images in the database may be used for non-commercial educational or research purposes. If you use or reproduce our materials in any format, we ask that the Lilly Library always be cited as the source of the material with the credit line: Courtesy, The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. For commercial uses, please contact the Lilly Library at 1200 East Seventh Street, Bloomington, Indiana, 47405-5500 or at http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/. For more information about the Slocum puzzle collection, please visit the Lilly Library web page: http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/collections/overview/puzzles.shtml

Severe storms damage trees near Lilly Library

Broken sidewalk and fallen tree

Last week’s storms in central Indiana hit the Bloomington campus twice: Monday night (May 23) and Wednesday night (May 25). Nearly 300 trees on the campus were affected. Several were downed in the area of the Lilly Library, but fortunately there was no damage to the building. Clean up continues this week with the sound of chain saws and shredders all around.

Read about the storms in the Indiana Daily Student or read the IU News Room press release.

View more images.