Masaryk in Egypt

Masaryk in Egypt

Tomàš Garrigue Masaryk (1850-1937), shown here at Luxor during a semi-private trip to Athens, Jerusalem and Cairo in 1927, was still active at the age of seventy-seven. Re-elected for the third time as president of Czechoslovakia, he was one of the leading statesmen in Europe. Almost three hundred of these small-format photographs were taken as part of the official record of his visit. Each photo bears a contemporary inscription on the back indicating date, place and occasion. Taken as a whole, they provide an unusually detailed day by day record of his journey. We are not sure whether this box was part of an official issue of these original photographs, and would welcome further information about them.

The Lilly’s holding in Czech literature and political history are particularly strong, thanks in large part to the generosity of Ruth Crawford Mitchell, long-time friend of the Masaryk family, and an important figure in international social work. Her papers, along with those of two of Masaryk’s daughters, Alice and Olga, are held at the Lilly. The Lilly continues to actively build its collection of Czech material, with an emphasis on the period of Tomàš Masaryk’s life. A display of the works of the Ĉapek brothers, Karel and Josef, is presently on view in the Ball Room.

— Breon Mitchell, Director

View a larger image of the photograph above and of the box of photographs.

Christmas Poems from the Madhouse

Haringer woodcut

This Expressionist portrait of Jakob Haringer (1898-1948) at age 22, by Emil Betzler, may well be a rare survival. It reached the Lilly together with five small groups of poems in manuscript, written on the back of old letters and scraps of paper, and hand-bound by Haringer as Christmas greetings to a few friends. Each copy is unique. On the copy shown here, Haringer has noted “written in prison and the madhouse.”

Following his early discharge from the military in WWI on medical grounds, Haringer took up the life of a vagabond. Accused of various petty crimes, including insulting officials, falsifying papers, and blasphemy, he spent most of the rest of his life on the streets, in hospitals, and in mental institutions. He lived largely by begging from friends. In 1936 the Nazis revoked his citizenship and he fled to Switzerland. From 1939 on he lived for a time in Paris, then, illegally, in Switzerland, where he was interned in various refugee camps during WWII. He died during a visit to Zurich in 1948. Arnold Schönberg set three poems by Haringer to music in 1933.

— Breon Mitchell, Director

View more images of the Haringer manuscripts

Earliest Printing in Sarawak?

Spelling Book of the Dyak Language

Little seems to be known about the early history of the Mission Press in Sarawak, which is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. The arrival in 1847 of Christian missionaries among the Dyaks, who were famous as headhunters, must soon have been followed by a small printing press. The Lilly has recently acquired two early examples of the Mission Press, a twenty-page “Spelling Book of the Dyak Language” dated 1853, along with a Catechism in Dyak dated 1854.

The Lilly’s copy bears a presentation inscription from the probable author, William Gomes. Of Sinhalese-Portuguese descent, Gomes arrived in Sarawak in 1852, worked in the Home School in Kuching, and served as missionary at Lundu from 1853 to 1867. The recipient, Rev. Hawkins, arrived in Sarawak in 1865, as the wife of Bishop McDougall later recorded in her memoirs:

“After the Banting expedition, the Bishop took Mr. Waterhouse to Lundu, and Mr. Hawkins, a missionary lately come out, went with them. They arrived on a Saturday. On Sunday there was a great gathering of Christian Dyaks: fifty-two people were confirmed, eighty received the Holy Communion, so that they were more than three hours in church, the Bishop preaching to them in Malay. On Monday Mr. Waterhouse and Mr. Hawkins paid a visit to a beautiful waterfall, about two miles from the town; and on Tuesday all the party, Mr. Gomes included, went in boats forty miles up the river Lundu, with three hundred Dyaks, to tuba fish.”

No doubt Mr. Gomes took this opportunity to present his new colleague with a copy, already twelve years old, of the spelling book shown here, along with the Dyak catechism—precious tools in the life he now faced. If anyone knows of an earlier surviving example of the Mission Press in Sarawak, we would appreciate hearing of it.

— Breon Mitchell, Director

View more images from the the “Spelling Book of the Dyak Language”

Art imitates life: Georg Kaiser

Kaiser, Der gerettete Alkibiades

Georg Kaiser (1878-1945), a major figure in German literary Expressionism (1910-1925), even signed his books in typical Expressionist “Telegrammstil” (telegram style). The copy of Der gerettete Alkibiades (1920) shown here, recently added to the Lilly’s growing collection of modern German literature, was inscribed for his friend Marthe Fröhlich only five days after he’d sent the following barely-veiled threat of suicide to his wife: “No one is even close to being my equal: I know that I’m the brother of Kleist, Büchner, and Goethe. I am one of the great wonders of the world. I’m the most extreme exponent of human kind… And if—growing weak—I make Kleist’s fate my own, you must carry on in my memory…”

Suicide was surely on his mind—the play ends with the death of Socrates. Ironically, the limited edition (one of 50 signed copies) is a touch of luxury totally at odds with Kaiser’s own desperate financial situation at the time. In October of that year, calling to mind the protagonist of his most famous play, From Morn to Midnight, he was arrested for embezzlement, and eventually put in prison. He died in Switzerland in 1945– of natural causes.

–Breon Mitchell, Director

View more images from Der gerettete Alkibiades.

Last week: Keith Erekson talk and an iconic cake

Lincoln cake

Last Thursday’s lecture by Keith Erekson was a lively and humorous survey of the ways Abraham Lincoln has been commemorated and claimed by Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Washington, DC. Erekson is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Texas at El Paso. His web site includes some examples of his interest in Lincoln, including a dissertation chapter about the “role of oral testimony in the field of Abraham Lincoln studies from 1865 through the 1930s” and a review of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum published in the Indiana Magazine of History: http://faculty.utep.edu/Default.aspx?tabid=54953

The reception after Erekson’s talk featured tea, lemonade, delightful little sandwiches, and a show-stopper cake in the form of Lincoln’s iconic stovepipe hat. The cake was catered by Blu Boy Chocolate; the other food and drink by Cynthia Moriarty. The exhibition, Remembering Lincoln, is on display through May 9.

Celebrate Abraham Lincoln at February 12th reception

Lincoln

Please join us for the opening reception for the new Lilly Library exhibition, Remembering Lincoln. The reception will be held on the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, this Thursday, February 12, from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.

The exhibition was curated by Cinda May, Assistant Librarian, Indiana State University, and it features more than 100 books, documents, art, music, and photographs from the Library’s collections including the extensive Joseph Benjamin Oakleaf Collection of Lincolniana. The exhibit offers a glimpse into the Indiana frontier where Lincoln spent his boyhood from 1816-1830 and illustrates how Americans past and present honor his memory.

The exhibition and the reception are free and open to the public.

New Curator of Manuscripts arrives at the Lilly Library

We’re pleased to announce that on January 26th, 2009, Cherry Williams joined us as our new Curator of Manuscripts. Ms. Williams received an M.L.I.S. degree from UCLA, and an M.A. in Humanities, with a concentration in Art History, from the University of Chicago. She comes to us from UCLA, where she was Special Collections Librarian for the Sciences at the Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, and served as Special Projects Librarian and Archivist of the William H. Sweet, M.D., D.Sc. Collection. Cherry also worked at the Getty Research Institute and the University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center. She is particularly interested in Medieval manuscripts, and wrote her Master’s thesis at the University of Chicago on “Consuming Images in the Book of Hours of Catherine of Cleves.” We welcome her warmly, and express our gratitude once more to Saundra Taylor, who retired last May, for her 34 years of service in this important position.

–Breon Mitchell, Director

Rare books in action: Lilly Library video

Hillary Demmon from University Communications recently put together a short web video about the Lilly Library. Director Breon Mitchell narrates over footage of students using books and manuscripts. Most of the pictures on our web site show the Library rooms without any people, so it is wonderful to see some of the life of the Lilly Library captured in this way. Lilly staff lead many tours and classes each year. Some of the students shown in the video are part of an Intensive Freshmen Seminar on the information age.

A link to the video: http://newsinfo.iu.edu/asset/page/normal/5483.html

Poysons are of Various and Infinite Kindes: The First English Book on Poisons

Poysons, title page

Thanasima, kai dēlētēria [in Greek]: Tractatus de venenis, or, a treatise of poysons: their sundry sorts, names, natures and virtues, with their severall symptomes, signes diagnosticks, prognosticks, and antidotes… / by William Ramesey (London: Printed by S.G. for D. Pakeman, at the Rain-bow in Fleet Street, 1661).

Written by the seventeenth-century British astrologer and physician, William Ramesey (1627–1676?), this book is likely the first English work on poisons. The text begins with a lengthy “Epistle Dedicatory” to Ramesey’s patron, Charles II, and is followed by two forewords, one aimed at a more learned audience, “To the Judicious and Ingenious Readers,” the other crafted for readers who might require a more “common” approach, “To the most Imprudent and Rurall Readers.” The author’s descriptions of the various types of poisons, include such things as “Mad-dogs bite,” “Garlick taken in excess,” the “Basilisk,” “Sea Dragons,” and insect venoms. He explains to his readers that there are no known poisons that can be programmed to kill at a specific time in the future, once administered. As the bookseller’s description accompanying this book explains, this directly refutes the then-common notion that a poison could be given which would both immediately perform the assassin’s work, but would allow ample time to establish an alibi. In 1668 Ramesey, having been admitted as an MD at Cambridge by royal mandate, became the physician-in-ordinary to Charles II. It is believed that he died in 1676 while in prison—not for poisoning, but for debt.

— Lori Dekydtspotter, Rare Books Cataloger

The call number for this book is Lilly Library RA1201 .R19 1661

See more images of this book here.

Grand Tour exhibition at IU Art Museum features Lilly Library books and journals

Thiebault travel journal

Ten items from the Lilly Library collections are part of the current special exhibition at the IU Art Museum, The Grand Tour: Art and Travel, 1740–1914, on view through December 21, 2008. (For more information, see the IU Art Museum web site). This exhibition considers the role of art and visual representation in the history of tourism. One of the great pleasures of researching the exhibition were the many hours I spent at the Lilly Library paging through rare eighteenth-century travel guides and hand-written, hand-drawn travel journals, some of which are still uncatalogued. Drawing was an important component of middle- and upper-class education during the period examined in the Grand Tour exhibition, and it is wonderful to see how the average traveler was able to put their drawing skills to use while on the road.

One of my favorite Lilly books in the exhibition is a two-volume journal (only volume one is in the exhibition) recording a walking tour in the north of Wales in September 1827, Voyage à pied dans le nord du Pays de Galles (Thiebault Family mss., uncatalogued). The journal was compiled by a French traveler, Adolphe Thiebault (1797–1875?), and is filled with his beautiful, precisely delineated ink and wash drawings of the landscapes he encountered in Wales. Each drawing is carefully pasted into the journal, and is accompanied by a descriptive caption and date. The page on view in the exhibition is particularly interesting, depicting a view of the Menai Suspension Bridge, a modern technological wonder in Thiebault’s day. Completed in 1826, the bridge was one of the world’s first iron suspension bridges. Linking mainland Wales to the island of Anglesey (previously accessible only by ferry), the bridge reduced travel time between London and Dublin from thirty-six hours to just nine. Thiebault drew the bridge on September 16, and on the facing page pasted a newspaper clipping with a story about the bridge.

Another book that provides great insight into the values and interests of its time is the very useful Gentleman’s Guide on his Tour Through Italy of 1791. If you ever wondered how long it took a Grand Tourist to travel from Rome to Naples in the late eighteenth century, this book will tell you: twenty-five hours, during which it was necessary to change horses at eighteen designated post-stations. Aside from providing detailed practical information regarding money, itineraries, and lodgings, the guidebook puts a strong emphasis on the art that English tourists wanted to see when they traveled to Italy. Lists of paintings in both private and public collections are included in the book, as is information about architecture and archaeological sites such as Pompeii, which had only been discovered a few decades earlier. Although unillustrated, the book includes a beautiful fold-out, colored map of Italy next to the title page. This book, with its map on display, is the first object visitors see when they enter the Grand Tour exhibition.

— Jenny McComas, Curator of Western Art after 1800, Indiana University Art Museum

View a larger image of a page from Adolphe Thiebault’s journal