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July 23, 2014

Fantastic Fairy Tales: From the Archives to the Classroom

Filed under: Books,Programs and Services — Rebecca Baumann @ 9:19 am
An early 19th-century chapbook of Cinderella with hand-colored engraved illustrations.  Students were particularly interested in the ways that illustrations of Cinderella reflected changing fashions and standards of female beauty over time.

An early 19th-century chapbook of Cinderella with hand-colored engraved illustrations. Students were particularly interested in the ways that illustrations of Cinderella reflected changing fashions and standards of female beauty over time.

The Lilly Library Public Services Department conducts over 200 class sessions a year for diverse audiences, from elementary school children to retirees. Many class sessions for IU undergraduates focus on introducing students to primary sources and archival research. This summer, Laura Clapper, an Associate Instructor and PhD candidate in the Department of English, brought the students from her Introduction to Fiction class for a session to compare different versions of classic fairy tales.

Students had a class session at the library in which they learned about the history of publishing children’s literature and examined historical examples from the 18th through 20th centuries of the stories “Cinderella,” “Bluebeard,” and “Jack the Giant Killer.”  Students noted differences as the stories were published over time.  They examined not only changes in the plot and moral of the story but also differences in illustrations and the physical attributes of the books themselves, taking into consideration how the stories might be presented and marketed for different historical audiences.

After examining these fairy tales in the Lilly’s Reading Room, students completed projects in which they imagined themselves as library curators and created exhibitions for adults and children based on their research and presented them to their peers in class.  Creative responses ranged from colorful posters to an interactive digital walkthrough, and students made insightful deductions about how and why these tales have changed over time.

If you would like to schedule a class session at the Lilly Library, please fill out our online form (http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/form.php) or contact the Public Services Department at liblilly@indiana.edu or 812-855-2452.

Rebecca Baumann, Reference Associate

In this 1954 comic book retelling, Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters are vampires.  Cinderella steals a magic book and helps herself rather than relying on a fairy godmother.  Students thought that the shocking twist ending (spoiler alert: the prince is a vampire too!) was to die for.

In this 1954 comic book retelling, Cinderella’s stepmother and stepsisters are vampires. Cinderella steals a magic book and helps herself rather than relying on a fairy godmother. Students thought that the shocking twist ending (spoiler alert: the prince is a vampire too!) was to die for.

July 14, 2014

The Zener Cards of Upton and Mary Sinclair: A Story of Psychical Research

Filed under: Manuscripts — Rebecca Baumann @ 1:00 pm

sinclair_00248

Upton Sinclair, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer perhaps better known for his novel The Jungle, a scathing critique of the meat-packing industry, was a sometime investigator of occult and mystical phenomena. In 1930, Sinclair published Mental Radio, a book that purported to demonstrate evidence of his wife Mary Craig Sinclair’s telepathic powers. The respected, and often skeptical, psychical researcher William McDougall wrote the introduction for the book’s English edition and Albert Einstein introduced the German edition.

Mary claimed to have developed telepathic abilities after the deaths of several close friends. Initially, her husband was irritated by his wife’s gifts which would manifest, inopportunely, in the middle of the night and Mary would wake him in order to recount her visions which often featured her husband doing everyday activities. Eventually, however, Sinclair decided to test his wife’s claims in a methodical manner and this investigation formed the basis of his book. Sinclair would draw whatever came to mind on a piece of scrap paper and would put each scribble on his wife’s belly. His wife, who could not see these drawings, would then reproduce or describe her impression of them.

Concerning these phenomena, Sinclair concluded: “Either there is some super-human mind or else there is something that comes from the drawings, some way of ‘seeing’ other than the way we know and use all the time.”

The Lilly Library’s archive of Upton Sinclair’s papers is comprised of over 150,000 items, including the original research notes and drawings for Mental Radio, examples of which are currently on display as part of the summer exhibition “Spiritualists, Sorcerers, and Stage Magicians: Magic and the Supernatural at the Lilly Library.”

Several items of correspondence in the Lilly’s collection add further insight into the story of Mrs. Sinclair’s alleged telepathy.  On March 18, 1935, Upton Sinclair received a letter from J.B. Rhine, founder of the parapsychology lab at Duke University.  Rhine was a psychologist who helped found the (now largely discredited) branch of science known as parapsychology, a discipline concerned with investigating paranormal and psychic phenomenon.  He was one of the scientists who published articles against the famous Boston medium Mina Crandon, known a “Margery.”  These skeptical revelations led Arthur Conan Doyle, a fervent believer in spiritualist phenomenon, to publish an article in a Boston newspaper titled “J.B. Rhine is an Ass.”  But despite his early attempts to debunk paranormal phenomenon, Rhine himself became quite caught up in his own beliefs in psychic phenomenon, particularly Extrasensory Perception (ESP).  In 1934 he published a book on the subject based on research using Duke students.  The book made him something of a celebrity, and he received letters from all over the world asking him to investigate their paranormal experiences.  The research was supported by institutions such as the Rockefeller Foundation and individuals such as Alfred P. Sloan, the CEO of General Motors.  During the mid-20th century, it genuinely appeared as though parapsychology was on its way to becoming a recognized scientific discipline.

One of Rhine’s tools in his ESP experiments was a set of cards designed by his colleague Karl Zener.  These cards had five different symbols on them: a circle, a plus sign, three wavy lines, a square, and a star.  Most people today recognize these cards from a scene in the 1984 film Ghostbusters in which the parapsychologist Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) conducts an experiment with the cards, shocking his male subject even when he guesses correctly and letting his pretty female subject pass with flying colors.  The cards were used by Rhine to test subjects for ESP.  The experimenter would look at the symbol on the card, and the test subject would then try to guess what symbol was on the card.  Any percentage higher than that of pure chance (20%) was considered significant.  Unlike the character in Ghostbusters, Rhine did not use electric shocks in any way, and his research turned up a number of test subjects with high hit rates.  Even the CIA was interested and purchased some of these cards to conduct their own tests.

Many factors can lead to high hit rates, including poor shuffling of the deck, sensory leakage (in which the subject can see the card in a reflection, see through the card, or pick up on cues from the experimenter), or outright cheating.  In short, these experiments have now been shown to have dubious scientific validity.

J.B. Rhine’s letter to Upton Sinclair asked him if he would mind testing his wife with the Zener cards.  That letter and the deck of cards is now held in the Lilly’s archive.  Sinclair responded promptly and enthused that his wife had “had one of those experiences when she was absolutely sure that he had got the correct answers.”  Without even looking at the cards, he alleged, she had been able to correctly guess the symbols.

Rebecca Baumann, Reference Associate, The Lilly Library

L. Anne Delgado, Visiting Lecturer, Department of English

 

Sources consulted:

Mock, Geoffrey.  “Synchronicity at Duke.” Duke Today.  March 23, 2009.  http://today.duke.edu/2009/03/rhine.html

“Zener ESP Cards.” The Skeptic’s Dictionaryhttp://www.skepdic.com/zener.html

 

 

 

July 10, 2014

Planting the Raintree: A Tribute to Ross Lockridge, Jr.

Filed under: Events,Manuscripts — Guest Blogger @ 12:33 pm
image of groundsmen Chuck Burleson (right) and Tony Albanese planting the raintree

IU groundsmen Chuck Burleson (right) and Tony Albanese planted the Lilly golden raintree on the morning of June 26, 2014.

Bloomington author Ross Lockridge Jr.’s 1948 book Raintree County has been touted by some contemporary critics as a candidate for that elusive goal, the Great American Novel. To honor Lockridge’s legacy, the Lilly Library has partnered with the IU Office of Landscape Architecture to plant a golden raintree at the historic Raintree House in Bloomington. The raintree was featured as part of the Lilly exhibition “Raintree County: A Celebration of the Life and Work of Ross Lockridge Jr.,” which went on display this spring in tribute to the author’s centennial.

Special thanks go to the Lockridge family for making the exhibition possible through their gift to the Lilly Library of thousands of the author’s personal belongings, including letters, mementos, unpublished writings, and a portion of the original manuscript for the famed novel. The Lockridge family has also been very generous in sharing their family story, which includes their father’s success, his suicide, and other details of his life and work.

Lockridge was familiar with raintrees through their prominent population in New Harmony, Indiana. In 1937 he wrote A Pageant of New Harmony, which was performed in the town as part of the second annual Golden Rain Tree Festival. Years later he employed the raintree as a symbol of knowledge, fertility, and life in his epic novel and appropriated its name for his title.

Native to eastern Asia, the raintree was introduced to the West in the 1700s and blooms in early summer with clusters of mildly-fragrant yellow flowers. In the fall, the leaves turn buttery yellow and the tree produces brown, papery seed capsules which somewhat resemble Chinese lanterns. The tree will be located on the west side of Raintree House, visible to visitors and passers-by.

Built in 1845, Raintree House is currently home to three young golden raintrees but was once home to one of the largest such trees in southern Indiana. In 1969 the IU Foundation purchased the property, and the Organization of American Historians moved into it the following year, occupying it ever since. Constructed from locally produced brick and virgin walnut timber, the house is designated an Indiana historic site and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Given the role and sense of history in Raintree County, the ceremonial planting at Raintree House is a fitting coda to the Lilly’s recently-concluded Ross Lockridge Jr. centennial exhibition. “For Raintree County is not the country of the perishable fact,” the author stated in the novel’s epigraph. “It is the country of the enduring fiction. The clock in the Court House Tower on page five of the Raintree County Atlas is always fixed at nine o’clock, and it is summer and the days are long.” This tree serves as a reminder of the sturdy and renewable power and beauty of literary art that emerged from the rich imagination of one Indiana writer in the middle years of the 20th century.

David Brent Johnson, Guest Blogger

Built in 1845, Raintree House is part of Indiana University and is currently home to the Organization of American Historians.  It is also now home to three golden raintrees.

Built in 1845, Raintree House is part of Indiana University and is currently home to the Organization of American Historians.  It is also now home to three golden raintrees.

June 19, 2014

The Lilly Library engages in some paranormal activity

Filed under: Events,Exhibitions — Lilly Library @ 11:24 am

Excitement mounts for Saturday’s opening reception for Spiritualists, Sorcerers, and Stage Magicians: Magic and the Supernatural at the Lilly Library. We’ll have food and drink plus a magic show and remarks by the exhibition curators! IU Communications multimedia intern Milana Katic posted a short video on the Art at IU blog today featuring interviews with exhibition curators Rebecca Baumann and L. Anne Delgado and a sneak preview of magician Steve Bryant.

For the full post see: The Lilly Library engages in some paranormal activity. And please join us at 6:00 pm at the Lilly Library this Saturday, June 21, for a festive evening.

June 5, 2014

A New Exhibition at the Lilly Library: Spiritualists, Sorcerers, and Stage Magicians

Filed under: Exhibitions — Rebecca Baumann @ 8:52 am

Banner_Sun_v7-editedJoin us this week as the Lilly Library’s summer exhibition, “Spiritualists, Sorcerers, and Stage Magicians: Magic and the Supernatural at the Lilly Library,” makes its debut. The exhibition will run from June 2 to August 30, with a special reception on Saturday, June 21 from 6:00-8:00 PM.

The exhibition showcases the Library’s wide-ranging and eclectic holdings on magic and the supernatural, from 17th-century treatises on witchcraft to modern-day comic books.

Stay tuned to the Lilly Library’s blog and website for details about upcoming special events and blog posts throughout the summer highlighting items in Lilly’s collection such as discussion of spiritualism in the correspondence of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the Lilly’s recently-acquired issues of the pulp magazine Weird Tales, and annotated editions of books by the self-styled black magician Aleister Crowley.

May 6, 2014

The Little Prince home from Morgan Library exhibition

Filed under: Books — Lilly Library @ 12:16 pm

You may have seen some of the great press that the Morgan Library and Museum received for its exhibition The Little Prince: A New York Story. We at the Lilly Library were delighted to see the Lilly’s contribution to the exhibition highlighted in an interview with Curator Christine Nelson in the Morgan newsletter, pictured below.

The script Orson Welles wrote for the never-produced film version of The Little Prince is now back home at the Lilly Library. If you are interested in seeing the script for yourself, stop by the Lilly Library. It just takes a few minutes to register. Then ask to see Welles mss., Box 20, folders 23-27.

morgan-lilly_001-c

April 28, 2014

Lilly Library Catches that Catch Can from 1652

Filed under: Books — Kristin Leaman @ 3:40 pm

The Lilly Library recently acquired a lovely English book of music titled Catch that Catch Can, or A Choice Collection of Catches, Rovnds, & Canons for 3 or 4 Voyces. Printed in London by John Hilton for John Benson and John Playford in 1652, the book remains in its original, speckled calf, oblong boards. There are 144 songs by several composers, including William Lawes, Henry Lawes, and John Hilton. Catches appear as early as 1580 in English manuscript, while catches and rounds first appeared in print in 1609 with a collection published in London by Thomas Ravenscroft. Hilton’s Catch that Catch Can is considered an important later collection (Grove).

Catches are humorous songs that were usually written for three or four voices; drinking and women dominate as the main subjects of the lyrics. This is demonstrated in the lyrics by William Lawes on page 37 of Hilton’s book: “Let’s cast away care, and merrily sing, there is a time for every thing: he that / plays at his work, or works in his play neither keep working, nor yet Holy – day: / set businesse aside, and let us be merry, and drown our dry thoughts in Canary and Sherry.” Rounds were also particularly popular in late 16th and 17th century England among men for “convivial social gatherings.” While the social class of men who sang catches and rounds has not been determined, it is thought that their popularity “spread to lower social groups during the reign of James I” (Grove).

Sources:
- Day, Cyrus Lawrence and Eleanore Boswell Murrie. English Song-Books 1651-1702, A Bibliography. London: Printed for the Bibliographical Society at the University Press, Oxford, 1940.
- The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 2rd ed. Ed. Stanley Sadie. Vol. V. New York: Macmillan Publishers Limited, 2001, 2002. Print.

Images: (1) The engraved title page. (2) Tenor and bass parts of Now we are met lets merry, merry bee by Mr. Symon Ives (p 95).

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Photography by: Zachary Downey

April 15, 2014

The Little Prince: A New York Story

Filed under: Uncategorized — Cherry Williams @ 2:45 pm

The Lilly Library was very pleased to be asked to contribute material to the current exhibition on display at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City, The Little Prince: A New York Story, the first exhibition to explore in depth the creative choices made by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry while writing the manuscript during two years he and his wife spent in New York City at the height of the Second World War. Curated by Christine Nelson, curator of literary and historical manuscripts, the exhibition explores the origins of the story as well as features many of the original art works, including watercolors and drawings made by Saint- Exupéry for the book.

From the its extensive Welles manuscript collections, the Lilly Library contributed Orson Welles’s typescript, with autograph revisions, of a screen play for a film version of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, ca. 1943. According to Barbara Leaming in Orson Welles: A Biography, following the tumultuous productions of Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons, Welles discovered the work while searching for his “third film that, unlike its two predecessors, would interest a mass audience.” She quotes Welles as remarking that “what I wanted to do with The Little Prince, was a very small amount of animation. It was only the trick effects of getting from planet to planet.” Walt Disney and his crack team of animators were the obvious collaborators of choice. While introductions and a lunch meeting were arranged between Welles and Walt Disney, Welles later reported to Leaming that after arranging to be called from the initial meeting at the Disney Studios, Walt Disney exploded in the hallway outside of the room, “there is not room on this lot for two geniuses,” and the project came to an end.

littleprince

The Little Prince: A New York Story at the Morgan Library & Museum
http://www.themorgan.org/exhibitions/exhibition.asp?id=90

Exhibition review, The New York Times, January 23, 2014
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/24/arts/design/the-morgan-explores-the-origins-of-the-little-prince.html?_r=0

Cherry Williams

April 10, 2014

Join us today at the Ross Lockridge, Jr., Raintree County celebration

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lilly Library @ 9:42 am

Dust jacket of the novel Raintree County by Ross Lockridge, Jr.

Dust jacket of the novel Raintree County by Ross Lockridge, Jr.

Please join us today for a film screening and reception celebrating the centennial of Bloomington author Ross Lockridge, Jr., and his iconic novel, Raintree County. At 2:30 PM a film screening will take place at the IU Cinema, followed by a 5:30 PM reception at the Lilly Library where you can view the related exhibition and pick up a copy of Lockridge’s biography, Shade of the Raintree, by his son Larry Lockridge. All events are free and open to the public.

Read more about the events and the exhibition in the IU News Room:
http://news.indiana.edu/releases/iu/2014/04/raintree-county-celebration.shtml

Learn more about Ross Lockridge, Jr., at Indiana Public Media:

The World Of A Novel: Ross Lockridge Jr.’s Raintree County
http://indianapublicmedia.org/arts/world-ross-lockridge-jrs-raintree-county/

April 7, 2014

Now You See Me, Now You Don't: Vanishing Puzzles at the Lilly

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lilly Library @ 4:13 pm

Alex Bellos is a mathematics and science writer for The Guardian. Mr. Bellos has written a number of books on mathematics such as such as Alex's Adventures in Numberland (U.S. title Here's Looking at Euclid), and more recently Alex Through the Looking-Glass (U.S. title The Grapes of Math). He also edited a book about the Golden Ratio, The Golden Meaning, which features 55 graphic designers illustrating the mathematical concept. Mr. Bellos has also served as a South American correspondent for The Guardian, and has written about Brazilian soccer and was a ghostwriter on Pele's autobiography.

Mr. Bellos currently writes for The Guardian at his blog Alex's Adventures in Numberland. Recently he posted an article on vanishing puzzles which features images of puzzles from the Jerry Slocum Mechanical Puzzle Collection.

The blog post can be found at
http://www.theguardian.com/science/alexs-adventures-in-numberland/gallery/2014/apr/01/vanishing-leprechaun-disappearing-dwarf-puzzles-pictures

leprechauns

eggs

Mr. Bellos also wrote an additional post in which he writes about the geometrical concept behind the puzzle, which can be found at
http://www.theguardian.com/science/alexs-adventures-in-numberland/2014/apr/01/empire-state-building-images-geometrical-illusion-vanishing-leprechaun

Andrew Rhoda
Curator of Puzzles

March 18, 2014

Mediaevalia at the Lilly 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lilly Library @ 4:31 pm

detail of Ricketts 162

Please join us in welcoming this year’s Mediaevalia speaker, Dr. Erik Kwakkel, Associate Professor in medieval manuscript studies at Leiden University, The Netherlands, and principal investigator of the research project ‘Turning Over a New Leaf: Manuscript Innovation in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance’. Among his publications are articles and book chapters on a variety of manuscript-related topics, as well as monographs and edited volumes on Carthusian book production (2002), medieval Bible culture (2007), change and development in the medieval book (2012), medieval authorship (2012), and Insular book culture (2013). Dr. Kwakkel was the 2014 E.A. Lowe Lecturer in Paleography at Corpus Christi College, Oxford.

Dr. Kwakkel will be presenting two programs:

Kissing the Neighbor: How Medieval Letterforms Help to Tell Time
When: Thursday, March 27, 2014 5:00-7:00 PM
Where: Lilly Library Lincoln Room
What: Lecture and reception. All are welcome.

“Age is not important, unless you are a cheese.” Historians know this expression not to be true: the age of a piece of writing matters a great deal. The key to determining when a given medieval manuscript was written is to assess the age of its script. The handwriting of scribes developed continuously, meaning that their products can be placed in time if the right reference points are available. This paper deals with such reference points: it shows that developing letterforms provide evidence for dating the book in which they appear; and how we may retrieve this information. The main focus will be on what is arguably the most dramatic development in medieval handwriting: the shift from Caroline to Gothic script. During the century and half of this transformation, in an age known as The Long Twelfth Century, scribes across Europe began to search for new ways of executing letters. Neighboring letters began to ‘kiss’ and ‘bite’ each other, while the ‘i’ became dotted and the ‘t’ crossed. The lecture ultimately demonstrates it is possible to gauge the date of a manuscript in an objective manner: it shows how letterforms help to tell time.

Why Study the Medieval Book?
When: Friday, March 28, 2014 9:00AM—12:00 Noon
Where: The Lilly Library Slocum Room
What: Hands-on workshop for graduate students and faculty

**Enrollment is limited to 16 participants and pre-registration is required. Please contact Cherry Williams, Curator of Manuscript, The Lilly Library for information and to register: chedwill@indiana.edu

This workshop focuses on the medieval manuscript as a physical object. It aims to show faculty and students how its features matter for studies that are not primarily interested in the material book itself. It queries how someone working in the disciplines of English, History or Religious Studies, etc. may benefit from a manuscript beyond merely the text it holds on its pages. The workshop will present ‘real-world’ case studies to show how even someone with a basic understanding of the medieval book may benefit from its physical features. At the end of the session participants will be able to answer the query posed in the workshop’s title.

February 6, 2014

Original Manuscript Scroll of On the Road Returns to the Lilly Library, February 3-22

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lilly Library @ 12:41 pm

The Naked Lunch

The writing of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road is the stuff of American literary legend. Kerouac claimed to have written it in three weeks, at such white heat that he taped 12-foot-long stripes of paper together and ran them through a typewriter in a sort of scroll so that he wouldn’t have to pause to feed new sheets into the machine. While this pace is probably exaggerated, the original manuscript of the novel was and remains in scroll format, 119 feet 8 inches long by 9 inches wide. In 2001, it was purchased by Jim Irsay, team owner of the Indianapolis Colts. Since then, the scroll has had a special relationship with the Lilly Library, as the Lilly’s Conservator, Jim Canary, has assisted Irsay in its preservation and in handling it as it toured.

The scroll was on display at the Lilly Library in 2003 as part of a travelling exhibition which took it all around the country and abroad. The Lilly is proud to host the scroll once more, on special loan from Jim Irsay. The scroll appears in conjunction with the Lilly’s exhibition on Beat writer William S. Burroughs in celebration of Burroughs’ 100th birthday. The scroll is unrolled to display the section about “Old Bull Lee,” the character inspired by Burroughs. A digital display of the full scroll – from the first line to the last ragged edges which were eaten by a dog, including all of the fascinating textual variations from the published version – will also be available to view.

January 23, 2014

From Bonnie and Clyde to Jaws: Pauline Kael class at the Lilly Library

Filed under: Events — Lilly Library @ 6:00 am

Indiana University Lifelong Learning proudly presents ‘From Bonnie and Clyde to Jaws: Pauline Kael’s
“Critical Collection” at the Lilly Library’
. The Second Golden Age of Cinema (ca. 1967-1975) was an unprecedented era of creativity and risk in Hollywood moviemaking, and with that came new heights in film criticism. At the forefront was Pauline Kael, the controversial, insightful, wickedly funny film critic for The New Yorker from the late 1960s to the early 1990s. This course focuses primarily on Kael’s criticism during the Second Golden Age, where her influence helped launch the careers of filmmakers like Francis Coppola, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg. Additionally, we will watch selected scenes from classic films of this period (such as Bonnie and Clyde, The Godfather, Nashville, and Jaws) and assess them in the context of Kael’s reviews.

Class: ‘From Bonnie and Clyde to Jaws : Pauline Kael’s “Critical Collection” at the Lilly Library’
Instructor: Craig Simpson
Location: Lilly Library
Times: March 25 and April 1 (Tuesdays) 7:00pm-8:30pm
Fee: $40
Class size is limited to 25 students.

To register for this class, go to https://webdb.iu.edu/Continue/Secure/catalog.asp?dept=Arts#14SA123HU

January 21, 2014

A Conversation with Will Shortz

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lilly Library @ 5:31 pm
Will Shortz IU'74, NPR's puzzlemaster and the crossword puzzle editor of the New York Times.

Will Shortz IU’74, NPR’s puzzlemaster and the crossword puzzle editor of the New York Times.

On December 13, 2013, the crossword puzzle celebrated its 100th birthday, and eyes around the world turned towards IU alumnus Will Shortz for his wisdom on the subject. Will has been immersed in the world of puzzles since he created his first around age eight or nine. Since then, he has honed his knowledge through his individualized major in enigmatology at IU, the only such degree granted in the world; through years of puzzle collecting; and through his work as a professional puzzler: the editor of Games Magazine, NPR’s puzzlemaster, and the crossword puzzle editor of the New York Times.

Will took time out of his busy schedule to sit down with Becky Wood, Director of Communications at the IU Libraries, to talk about his puzzle collection, his passion for table tennis, and what continues to puzzle him.

Becoming a Collector

Will Shortz bought his first antique puzzle book at a hospital sale in Crawfordsville, Indiana, where he grew up. Although he devoured the copy of Hirschberg’s Can You Solve It, Will didn’t think of himself as a book collector until his third year of law school at the University of Virginia. The school sponsors an annual essay competition about collecting rare books with prizes in a number of categories, including most interesting collection. Convinced that his puzzle book collection was a certain winner, Will wrote his essay, created a bibliography of his puzzle library, and though he did’t win that competition, ever since then he has considered himself a rare book collector.

Will describes his collection as huge—he has over 25,000 puzzle books and magazines dating back to 1533; eclectic—he collects anything related to puzzles that is in print including books, magazines, newspaper articles; and ephemeral—advertising trade cards, postcards, tickets, newspaper articles, things that are one-of-a kind and normally thrown away.

One of the many gems of his collection is the only existing copy of the first crossword puzzle ever published. It was the Sunday before Christmas, December 13, 1913, and the New York World “Fun” Sunday supplement editor Arthur Wynne wanted something to liven up his newspaper’s games section. The grid Wynne created was diamond-shaped and appears simple compared to many of today’s crosswords. After one hundred years, Will’s copy of that puzzle, carefully stored in an archival sleeve, still retains its original colors and conveys the rich and interesting history of the genre whose genesis it marks.

Immersed in the History of Puzzles

Will’s interest in the history of puzzles has deep roots. Between his junior and senior years at IU, he received a research grant to study the history of puzzles at the Library of Congress where he spent most of his time in the Rare Book and Special Collections Reading Room. On that visit, Will discovered the National Puzzlers’ League (NPL) and its magazines, The Enigma and before that The Eastern Enigma, the discovery of which marked an important moment in his life. Whereas puzzles are usually a solitary activity, the League connected puzzlers with one another, and for Will, bringing people together has always been a primary goal. He has belonged to the NPL since 1972, has served as program director of the NPL’s national convention since 1976, and remains deeply involved in national and international tournaments and activities that transform puzzling into a competitive social occasion.

Will wrote his thesis on the history of American word puzzles before 1860. He combed through material at the Wells Library as he conducted research, uncovering a microfilm copy of Puritan minister Samuel Danforth’s 1647 almanac, among the earliest surviving examples of the American almanac form. Along with Reverend Danforth’s musings on astronomy and religion, every month of the year he included a puzzle, specifically, a versified riddle. Puzzles held such a grip on people that even in a religious colony in the 17th century, people were creating and solving them.

Will spent weeks in the newspaper room in the basement of the Wells Library looking for puzzle columns in the bound volumes. As he puts it, “IU has a great collection of microfilm and microfiche of all the early publications, so when I was studying the history of puzzles, I literally looked through every newspaper and magazine I thought might contain puzzles. I found a lot of great information on the history of puzzles through months of work at the IU Libraries.”

Shortz at the Table

For many people, solving puzzles—and crosswords in particular—is a relaxing, refreshing activity. Because puzzles are a job for Will, he turns to another activity to recharge: table tennis. Although he was a tennis champion in college, Will says that the two sports are quite different in terms of their physicality as well as the game behind the game. In both you need to figure out your opponent, playing on your strengths and their weaknesses, but Will compares table tennis to puzzles since both are what he terms “brain games.”

Will traces his history with table tennis back to Crawfordsville where his family had a ping-pong table in their rec room. He played as a kid, won some trophies in high school, and continued playing up until his early 30s. The breakthrough moment in terms of his return to the table came in 2001 when his best friend found a table tennis club in Westchester County, where Will currently lives. The club offered table tennis two nights a week so Will played two nights a week, but that wasn’t enough. He convinced the club to offer a third night, so he was up to three nights a week. When that club closed, he found two community centers willing to offer two nights of table tennis each every week, so he was up to four nights a week. As Will puts it, “Things progressed,” and now he owns his own table tennis center. It’s the largest in the country, hosts international table tennis players, and Will gets to play table tennis every single day.

What Puzzles Will Shortz?

In addition to serving as program director of the NPL’s convention, Will is also the organization’s historian. Founded in 1883, the NPL is the oldest puzzlers’ organization in the world, and it has weathered highs and lows, including almost dying out in the late 1960s for lack of interest. Around that time, an old puzzler offered for sale a complete set of The Enigma, the magazine of the NPL, to anyone who was interested, agreeing to donate a certain portion of the price to support the NPL. Soon thereafter evidence of the sale appeared in The Enigma, but the buyer was not named and remains unknown. Who bought that complete set, and where have the seventeen earliest issues of The Enigma gone? That is what puzzles Will Shortz.

Do you know where those seventeen issues are?

Shortz in the News

Interview with Mo Rocca on CBS This Morning

ABC News/Yahoo News interview with Will about crosswords and table tennis

Shortz in the Chicago Sun Times Daily Sizzle

November 12, 2013

Marchetto and Prosdocimo: A Musician and an Astronomer on Music in Medieval Padua

Filed under: Events — Lilly Library @ 5:20 pm

Please join us on Monday, November 18, 2013, at 5:00 pm in the Lilly Library for “Marchetto and Prosdocimo: A Musician and an Astronomer on Music in Medieval Padua,” the inaugural lecture in a new series from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music’s Center for the History of Music Theory and Literature (CHMTL) by the renowned medievalist and musicologist Jan Herlinger.

All are welcome. Refreshments will follow the talks. In order to prepare for the reception, we ask that you please fill out the small form available here if you are planning to attend.

Jan Herlinger is Derryl and Helen Haymon Professor of Music, emeritus, at Louisiana State University and an Adjunct Researcher at the University of Alabama School of Music. Professor Herlinger has edited, translated, and written widely on medieval music theory; he has contributed to the New Grove Dictionary of Music, the Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages, Medieval Italy: An Encyclopedia, the New Oxford History of Music, and the Cambridge History of Western Music Theory; and to the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Acta Musicologica, and Music Theory Spectrum. He served as Secretary of the American Musicological Society, 1996–2001, and, from its beginning, as a member of the Board of the Thesaurus Musicarum Latinarum, a project hosted by CHMTL.

Abstract:
Marchetto was a choirmaster in Padua in the early 14th century; Prosdocimo de Beldemandis an astronomer, physician, and professor of arts and medicine at the university in that city in the early 15th century. Both wrote extensively on music, covering many of the same topics (Prosdocimo wrote on arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy as well). Their music treatises are well known among students of medieval music and deemed essential for its understanding; but their experiences of music, their views of it, and their attitudes toward it were very different. The talk traces their differences—even conflicts—of opinion, and will include images of medieval manuscripts and audio clips of pieces each writer would have known.

For more information about this lecture, please refer to the Jacobs School of Music blog.

October 14, 2013

An Interview with Cherry Williams, Curator of Manuscripts

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lilly Library @ 2:52 pm

williams-cherryPloughshares Literary Magazine‘s blog recently featured an interview with the Lilly Library’s Curator of Manuscripts, Cherry Williams. Read about Cherry’s perspective on the book today and in the future, as part of the blog series “People of the Book”.

From the Ploughshares blog:
People of the Book is an interview series gathering those engaged with books, broadly defined. As participants answer the same set of questions, their varied responses chart an informal ethnography of the book, highlighting its rich history as a mutable medium and anticipating its potential future. This week brings the conversation to Cherry Williams, Manuscripts Curator at the Lilly Library at Indiana University.

Read the entire article at:
http://blog.pshares.org/index.php/people-of-the-book-cherry-williams/

October 2, 2013

Dennis Walder on South African Drama, October 3, Wertheim Lecture in Comparative Drama

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lilly Library @ 5:19 pm

The Department of Comparative Literature, Indiana University, invites you to the Wertheim Lecture in Comparative Drama:

October 3, 2013, 4:30 p.m. at the Lilly Library
“The Play’s the Thing: A Journey through the Drama of South Africa”
by Professor Dennis Walder

Dennis Walder is Emeritus Professor of Literature at the UK’s Open University. He is the former director of the Open University’s Ferguson Centre for African and Asian Studies, as well as the founding director of the Post-Colonial Literatures Research Group. A graduate of the University of Cape Town, Professor Walder completed his doctoral degree as Aytoun Research Fellow in English at the University of Edinburgh. Professor Walder’s research interests range from 19th-century fiction to 20th-century literature. His thesis was published as Dickens and Religion (1981; reissued 2007). He published the first book on South Africa’s best-known playwright, Athol Fugard, in 1984, and he has since edited three volumes of Fugard’s plays for Oxford University Press. In 2003, he produced a new study of the playwright, Athol Fugard, in the series “Writers and Their Work.” He regularly writes program notes and gives theatre talks for performances of Fugard.

Professor Walder has contextualized his research on South African drama in Post-Colonial Literatures: History, Language, Theory (1998). His 2000 essay “The Necessity of Error: Memory and Representation in the New Literatures” began a series of papers and journal articles on topics linking memory, identity and narrative in post-colonial contexts, leading up to his most recent book Postcolonial Nostalgias: Writing, Memory and Representation (2010).

The Wertheim Lecture in Comparative Drama commemorates Albert Wertheim’s contributions to the field of Comparative Drama. Wertheim, who passed away in April 2003, was Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and Theatre and Drama.

September 26, 2013

Race, Filmmaking, and the Silent Screen

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lilly Library @ 1:57 pm

Rebecca Stanwick is an MLS Candidate in the Department of Information and Library Science in the IU School of Informatics and Computing. Her major focus is on Children and Youth Librarianship, but she also works part-time at the Lilly Library. She recently organized an exhibition about the R. E. Norman papers for the Lilly Library’s foyer. Here she talks about the experience:

Richard E. Norman Studios: Race, Filmmaking, and the Silent Screen: Exhibit at the Lilly Library

flyingace

Before beginning work on this exhibition, I had never heard of R. E. Norman or his project. Coming from a background in literature and working with my love of narrative, I was looking for a good story I could tell. I was also unaware of the scholarly recovery of Norman that is currently taking place and of newfound recognition that Norman’s movies are receiving. In November, Barbara Tepa Lupack will be publishing Richard E. Norman and Race Filmmaking, the first full-length critical study of Norman and his film company’s place in cinematic history. Here at Indiana University, the Norman revival is in full swing. In November, Norman’s project will play a part in a conference taking place at the Black Film Center/Archive where Norman’s only surviving full-length film, The Flying Ace, which was preserved by the Library of Congress in 2010, will be screened with live accompaniment at IU Cinema. The newfound critical attention is deserved, and it is exciting to see what scholars have to say about this long dormant, yet exceedingly interesting, character of black film history.

As I said, however, I knew none of this. I ultimately came to choose the R. E. Norman collection because I was intrigued by how the Norman Studios Silent Film Museum/Norman Studios website characterized Norman. It describes him as “disheartened about the state of race relations at the time, both in real life and in the movies…” This characterization of a progressive man in a time when African Americans were still firmly seen as second class citizens made me want to learn more about Norman’s motives for creating all-black films. Was Norman as racially progressive as the statement suggests?

mazelleperry

What I discovered in Norman’s papers, especially letters to his brother Bruce, is that he was first and foremost a businessman. It is well documented that Norman and other race filmmakers saw an untapped market in all-black films. Often excluded from white films and cinemas and dismayed by the stereotypically racist portrayal of blacks by white filmmakers, black audiences were excluded from cinematic entertainment. Black audiences were hungry for stories and cinematic portrayals that spoke to them and reflected their experiences. These are the films that Norman offered.

As progressive as the films seem now, to characterize Norman as a proponent of better race relations is problematic. In his correspondence with his black talent, Norman was often dismissive and harsh. In his letters to his brother Bruce, he often uses racist language in reference to different actors and talent as well as to theater owners with whom Norman was conducting business. The letters suggest that his project was more about good business and making money than it was the betterment of the black community.

In addition to Norman’s letters, the exhibition features other items that document the actors and actresses with whom Norman came into contact. The actors include Anita Bush and Bill Pickett as well as vaudeville performers like Mazelle M. Perry. I have also included letters and pictures of lesser known African American talent who, vying for a chance to be in a Norman production, sent inquiries to Norman about parts great and small. This small exhibition only scratches the surface of the richness of the R. E. Norman collection. I hope many more scholars will come to investigate the R. E. Norman papers at the Lilly Library and at the Black Film Center/Archive where a large portion of the collection is also housed.

Rebecca Stanwick

IU Cinema – The Flying Ace, November 15 – Friday 7:00 PM, http://www.indiana.edu/~bfca/events/#regener8

August 23, 2013

Meet author Robert K. Elder! Saturday September 7, 2013 1:00-3:00PM

Filed under: Events,Film — Cherry Williams @ 1:23 pm

“Ladies and gentlemen, by way of introduction, this is a film about trickery, fraud, about lies…almost any story is most certainly some kind of lie.” - Orson Welles, F for Fake

ElderRob

The Lilly Library is delighted to join with the IU Cinema in welcoming author, Robert K. Elder, whose archive the Lilly Library is proud to house. A meet-the-author reception will be hosted at the Lilly in the Main Gallery from 1:00-3:00PM prior to a double-screening of Orson Welles’ “F for Fake” and Lasse Hallström’s “The Hoax” which will be shown at the Indiana University cinema on Saturday, September 7 beginning at 3:00PM. http://www.cinema.indiana.edu/?post_type=series&p=4864

Rob’s new book “The Best Film You’ve Never Seen,” in which he interviews 35 directors about their favorite overlooked, forgotten or critically-savaged gems will be available for purchase and signing at the theater following the reception. http://robertkelder.com/

The Lilly is also honored to hold the archives of Orson Welles, as well as those of other film greats John Ford and Peter Bogdanovich.

Orson Welles: http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/lilly/mss/index.php?p=welles

John Ford: http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/lilly/mss/index.php?p=fordj

Peter Bogdanovich: http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/lilly/mss/index.php?p=bogdanovich

– Cherry Williams, Curator of Manuscripts

August 21, 2013

Elmore Leonard at the Lilly Library

Filed under: In the news,Manuscripts — Craig Simpson @ 8:53 am

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.

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