A Song of National Thanksgiving

Give Thanks All  ye People

On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving to be celebrated on the final Thursday of November that year, November 26th. Thanksgiving has been observed annually in the United States since 1863. The hymn Give Thanks All Ye People (music by Joseph W. Turner and words by William Augustus Muhlenberg) was published as a contribution to the 1863 observance. Taking place in the midst of civil war, the publication of this hymn was also a fund-raising effort to benefit St. Luke’s Hospital, New York. Funds collected were used for the relief of discharged and disabled soldiers and their sick wives and children, a population described in the appeal circular printed on the last page of the music as “a class of sufferers eminently deserving of consideration on an occasion of National Gratitude.”

This example is one of thousands of pieces of sheet music from the Lilly Library’s collection of sheet music that have been digitized and are available on the website InHarmony http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/inharmony/. The Lilly Library’s collection of books, manuscripts, photographs, and newspapers relating to the life of Abraham Lincoln is also quite extensive. Some of the Lincoln materials will be displayed next Spring to celebrate the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth (more details to follow).

– Elizabeth Johnson, Head of Technical Services

View the full digitized copy of Give Thanks All Ye People.

Bound for the bottom of the sea

Signals to be used by the squadron,.. (binding)

One of the books in this summer’s exhibition in the Lilly Library Main Gallery, Blue at the Mizzen: Patrick O’Brian and the 19th Century Naval World, was a slim, but heavy volume entitled: Signals to be used by the squadron under command of [blank space]. This book, printed in Brooklyn by Thomas Kirk for use by Commander John Rodgers’ flotilla during the War of 1812, has a very unusual binding – it’s encased in lead. The heavy lead binding insured rapid disposal in the event of an emergency. By throwing the book overboard, the Captain could make sure that the signal book didn’t fall into enemy hands. The first page of the book contains hand-drawn colored signal flags, and the key or indicator to each of the signals is added in manuscript. Commander Rodgers was clear in his orders concerning the signal book. “It is directed, that the commanding officers of the flotilla will never suffer their signal books to be exposed either to the possibility of being lost, or to the inspection of any persons who duty does not require that they should be made acquainted with the signals. On the receipt of this signal book, the officer to whom it is delivered is desired to furnish me with all signals appertaining in any degree to these. Signed, John Rodgers.”

— Elizabeth Johnson, Head of Technical Services

View another image from Signals to be used by the squadron under command of [blank space]

Concert of Campaign Songs, Thursday, October 9th

I think we've got another Washington

Listeners to National Public Radio may have heard an item on the history of campaign songs during Weekend Edition Sunday (October 5, 2008). The Lilly Library is hosting a concert of campaign songs later this week, featuring songs of presidential winners and losers from Thomas Jefferson to Wendell Willkie to Richard Nixon. The songs all come from the sheet music collections at the Lilly Library. Other collections provided an array of campaign paraphernalia, currently on exhibition in the Lincoln Room. A staff favorite is a bumper sticker, reading: “Small Cars for Nixon – ‘He’s for the Little People.’”

The concert will take place on Thursday, October 9, from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. Christopher Goodbeer, Thea Smith, and Yonit Kosovske of the IU Jacobs School of Music will perform selections ranging from the upbeat to the obscure, including Happy Days are Here Again and Get Yourself a Nice Brown Derby (And Fall in Line for Al). A reception will follow the performance.

If you’d like to whet your appetite for Thursday’s performance, you can listen the NPR piece, “Songs Along the Campaign Trail” here:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=95408459

New anatomy exhibition opening Friday, September 19, 5:00 p.m.

William Harvey, De motu cordis

Anatomia Animata : Anatomy and Medicine in William Harvey’s Century
September 19 to December 20, 2008
Opening reception, September 19, 5:00 p.m.

Drawing on the the Lilly Library’s significant collection of medical books from all ages, this exhibition focuses primarily on the seventeenth century, the era of William Harvey and the discovery of the circulation of the blood, arguably the most significant anatomical discovery of all time.

Alongside Harvey’s findings, the seventeenth century witnessed other major innovations, such as the rise of microscopic anatomy, of sophisticated injection techniques, and of anatomical experiments that transformed the understanding of the body’s structure and organization. Anatomia Animata is a phrase used at the time referring to vivisection, a technique common to many investigations, including Harvey’s. But it also conveys the sense of animation that can be seen in many of the striking images of anatomical and medical books on display in the exhibition. The exhibition was curated by Joel A. Klein and Allen Shotwell, with the support of the Center for the History of Medicine.

For Lilly Library hours of operation, see http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/info.shtml

New online exhibition: Daniel Defoe

Robinson Crusoe, first edition

The Lilly Library posted its first online exhibition in 1997, and we have added new ones to the web site on an irregular basis. Sometimes graduate students in library science develop online exhibitions for course credit, then bring them to us for official posting. Sometimes, Lilly Library staff and student employees develop an exhibition at the request of a Curator or the Director.

In some ways the online exhibition is a creature of 1997. The current buzz in libraries is all about Google Books and creating online collections of materials scanned in their entirety. But our staff believes there is still a place for the online exhibition. We can promote specific groups of material in a way that goes beyond the cataloging records without the expense of a large digitization project. Online exhibitions are easily found in web search engines. Once researchers find the exhibition online, they can arrange a visit to the Library or contact us about ordering photocopies or more digital images.

For the past year, Denise Griggs, a graduate student in the School of Library and Information Science, has worked part-time to develop new online exhibitions for the Lilly Library. This week, Daniel Defoe: The Collection of the Lilly Library debuts. It features pamphlets, books, and newspapers published by the prolific English writer, best known for his novel, The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.

John Bidwell lecture on Monday

Declaration of Independence, 1776

The Friends of the Lilly Library are sponsoring the following lecture this Monday:

“The Declaration of Independence: Fantasies and Facsimiles,”
John Bidwell, Pierpont Morgan Library
Monday, Sep 15, 5pm – 6pm
Lilly Library

Patriotic prints containing the text of the Declaration and facsimile signatures of the Founding Fathers first appeared in 1818. Although advertised as absolutely accurate reproductions, they did not replicate the text so much as celebrate its achievements as a vindication of human rights, a charter of freedom, and the birthright of the nation. Leading artists and engravers embellished them with ornamental lettering, portraits of presidents, and elaborate allegories of peace and prosperity. One of the more fanciful and partisan interpretations prompted the Department of State to commission the first real facsimile, which, ironically, may have played a role in damaging the original, now badly faded and barely legible. In this slide lecture John Bidwell will recount the fate of the original and will show how facsimiles have influenced the way it has been read and revered.

John Bidwell is Astor Curator of Printed Books and Bindings at the Pierpont Morgan Library, before which he was Curator of Graphic Arts in the Princeton University Library. He has written extensively on the history of papermaking in England and America.

Unique illustrations in Maupassant volume

Mesples tn

Within the pages of this first edition of Guy de Maupassant’s first novel, Une Vie (Paris: Victor Havard, 1883), the reader will discover a collection of 52 original watercolor sketches by the French artist Paul-Eugéne Mesples (1849-1924). Giving the feel of a sketch book of sorts, Mesples painted colorful vignettes that gently blend into the printed text. It was the custom of many French bibliophiles to commission artists to add such series of watercolors to works of literature, often using untrimmed copies to do so. This uniquely illustrated volume may have been a prototype for a later edition with the publisher Victor Havard, though there is no evidence that Mesples’ illustrations for Une Vie were ever published. In 1886, Mesples was commissioned to illustrate the first edition of Maupassant’s Toine (Paris: Flammarion, 1886).

Many of the illustrations feature the main character, Jeanne le Perthuis des Vauds, a woman of the provincial aristocracy. The novel recounts the events of Jeanne’s life from the age of seventeen to her mid-forties: engagement, marriage, childbirth, discovery of her husband’s infidelity, death of her parents, and the birth of her first grandchild. Mesples captures these common life moments in detailed sketches that highlight nineteenth century French provincial aristocratic dress and provide hints of interior décor.

— Lori Dekydtspotter, Rare Books Cataloger

View more images from Une Vie. The call number for this item is Lilly Library PQ2349.6 .V65 1883

The Division Viol

The Division Viol title page tn

In 1985, to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the death of King Charles II, the Lilly Library mounted an exhibition on “The Reign of Charles II,” which provided viewers with a wide-ranging survey of the history, politics, and cultural activities of Restoration England. Although the Library was quite strong in literary and political books of the period, we found that we lacked several important musical works. After contacting antiquarian booksellers, we were able to acquire for the exhibition Thomas Mace’s remarkable and often-quoted 1676 treatise, Musick’s Monument, but we had no success in finding a copy of another very popular work of the day, Christopher Simpson’s The Division-Viol, or The Art of Playing Ex tempore upon a Ground. The Division Viol, which was first published in 1659, is an extended instruction book for the bass viol (also known as the viola da gamba). In addition to a discussion of the instrument, and information and musical exercises for those wanting to play it, the book contains an introduction to musical theory, as well as detailed instructions, with examples, on how to compose “divisions,” or variations, on a ground. The details that Simpson includes about instrumental technique and musical practice have been studied closely by modern violists, who find The Division Viol one of the most valuable surviving sources of information on how their instrument should be played. Simpson also provides several “Divisions for the practice of Learners,” which are still played (or, at least, attempted) today by violists, who soon discover that if Simpson’s learners were young beginners, the technical standard of viol playing in his day was very high indeed.

Though we weren’t able to find a copy of Simpson’s work for the 1985 exhibition, we have now finally added a copy of The Division Viol to the Lilly Library’s collections. Our copy is the 1667 issue of the second edition, which first appeared in 1665. In addition to some revisions of the text, the most visible difference between the first and second editions is the presence in the later edition of a parallel Latin translation, presumably intended to make the book more attractive to readers and musicians on the Continent. Another obvious difference between the two editions is in the engraving of a musician (presumably Simpson) playing the viol. In the first edition of 1659, the musician was depicted wearing a large broad-brimmed hat, while in the illustration in the second edition of 1665, the hat has disappeared, and the player is shown bareheaded. This was probably done because the hat worn in the earlier illustration was by 1665 quite out of fashion, and its inclusion could be seen as linking the book to the earlier Cromwellian era, rather than to the more modern era of Charles II.

The Division Viol figure tn

Our copy of the volume is quite well preserved, in a contemporary sheepskin binding, and with a number of marginal manuscript notes written by a seventeenth-century owner (or owners). All early editions of The Division Viol are rare, and very few copies have appeared on the market in the last several decades. To commemorate our new acquisition, the Lilly Library will present a concert of Simpson’s music on the afternoon of Sunday, November 23, 2008, with performances by Prof. Wendy Gillespie, who first alerted us to the possible availability of this copy of The Division Viol, and other members of the early music community of Indiana University. Further details about the concert will be posted on this blog and elsewhere on the Lilly Library’s web site when we have them.

— Joel Silver, Curator of Books

View more images from The Division Viol.

Welcome!

Lilly Library entrance

Scarcely a day passes at the Lilly Library without something of unusual interest coming our way. Our newly-inaugurated blog is intended to share our discoveries and excitement about rare books, manuscripts, exhibitions, speakers, and special events on a regular basis. We hope that this forum will allow us to inform you more quickly about fascinating new acquisitions for example, yet give us an opportunity to describe hidden treasures as well—the sort of thing often said to be “slumbering” undiscovered in the vaults of rare book libraries. We will also offer advance notice about lectures, public receptions and special displays. Our goal is to make the blog fun to read, intellectually stimulating, and informative—and to bring you into the Lilly as often as possible.

–Breon Mitchell, Director