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January 28, 2015

The Speculative Worlds of Margaret Atwood

Filed under: Exhibitions — Rebecca Baumann @ 12:43 pm

atwood_group2To celebrate the campus visit of Canadian novelist, poet, and literary critic Margaret Atwood, the Lilly Library presents an exhibition celebrating her life and work. Some of Atwood’s most memorable works include The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), a novel of a dystopian future in which a comprehensive system of patriarchal oppression relegates the women to roles of laborer, domestic, or concubine.  Her recently-completed MaddAddam trilogy (Oryx and Crake, 2003; The Year of the Flood, 2009; and MaddAddam, 2013) explores human relationships in a post-apocalyptic world of environmental catastrophes, pandemics, and genetic manipulation.

The exhibition situates Atwood’s work in the larger context of speculative fiction, showcasing treasures from the Lilly’s extensive collections.  Highlights include rare first editions of Atwood’s work; high points from the history of utopian and dystopian literature which inspired or were inspired by Atwood’s writing; and an array of early 20th-century science fiction pulp magazines of the kind described by Atwood in her novel The Blind Assassin (2000) and in her recent volume of essays on speculative fiction, In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination (2011).

The exhibition will be on display in the Lilly Library’s Lincoln Room through February 20th.

For additional information on Atwood’s campus visit, see: http://www.indiana.edu/~cahi/events/margaret-atwood-public-reading/

 

January 22, 2015

Orson Welles exhibition buzz

Filed under: Events,Exhibitions — Lilly Library @ 2:35 pm

welles_01291Excitement is building for the Orson Welles exhibition at the Lilly Library! The exhibition, “100 Years of Orson Welles: Master of Stage, Sound, and Screen” opens this week, and later in the semester film screenings and an academic symposium will provide continued opportunities to explore the work of this master of many media on the 100th anniversary of his birth.

The Indianapolis publication NUVO just published a piece on the exhibition: 100 Years of Orson Welles. The IU Bloomington Newsroom press release has information on the film schedule and links to symposium information.

Craig Simpson, Manuscript Archivist at the Lilly Library and curator of the the exhibition, will give a talk on February 12 at 5:30 pm in the Lilly Library Lincoln Room.

January 8, 2015

Lilly Library closed to the public today, January 8

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lilly Library @ 12:32 pm

Due to a construction-related water shut-off the Lilly Library is closed to the public today, January 8, 2015.

December 22, 2014

Songs fit for the son of a Prime Minister

Filed under: Books,Music,New acquisitions — Kristin Leaman @ 5:20 pm

In November 1901, Herbert John Gladstone was presented with Universal Harmony, or The Gentleman and Ladie’s Social Companion, a collection of songs printed in London by J. Newbery in 1745. The book is inscribed “From the Directors & Secretary of the Bath Clubs log. To the Right Hon. Herbert J. Gladstone M.P. their Chairman, on the occasion of his marriage with best wishes for long life & happiness November 1901.” One hundred and thirteen years to the month, the same book found its way to the Lilly Library.

Front cover of Universal Harmony, 1745.

Front cover of Universal Harmony, 1745.

Engraved title page.

Engraved title page.

The engraved title page reads Universal Harmony, or, The Gentleman & Ladie’s Social Companion, consisting of a great Variety of the Best & most Favourite English & Scots Songs, Cantatas &c. &c., With a Curious Design, By way of headpiece, Expressive of the sense of each particular Song, All neatly Engraved on quarto Copper Plates, And set to Music for the Voice, Violin, Hautboy, German & Common Flute, with a Thorough Base for the Organ, harpsichord, spinet, &c. By the Best Masters, The whole calculated to keep People in good Spirits, good health, & good humour, to promote Social Friendship in all Companys and Universal Harmony in every Neighborhood.

Herbert Gladstone was the youngest son of Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone. He was a political figure who served as Home Secretary, as well as Governor-General of the Union of South Africa. A dedicated athlete, Gladstone served as the chairman of the Bath Club and the president of the Physical Recreation Society. Perhaps a lesser-known fact is that he was a musician and glee singer, supporting and serving on the council of the Royal College of Music. An 18th century book of songs meant to “keep people in good spirits, good health, & good humour” would have been quite the appropriate wedding gift for Gladstone. Every page is beautifully engraved on copper quarto plates and printed only on the recto side of the page. Many of the pages include an engraved headpiece that represents the song shown beneath it, such as the two plates pictured below.

Plate 49 The Hunting Song in Apollo and Daphne.

Plate 49 The Hunting Song in Apollo and Daphne.

Plate 61 Old Chiron’s Advice to Achilles.


Plate 61 Old Chiron’s Advice to Achilles.

The book is elegantly bound by W. Pratt and contains 129 engraved plates of music, along with an index of songs listed alphabetically. Many of the individuals who set the lyrics to music are listed with the song. Parts for flute are sometimes present, as seen above in The Hunting Song in Apollo and Daphne and below in The Power of Musick and Beauty. The illustrations are filled with little details; the woman in the illustration for The Power of Musick and Beauty is singing from a book of music, while the man and dog are pictured listening attentively. As the lyrics go, “Musick enchants the list’ning Ear, And Beauty charms the Eye.”

Plate 9 The Power of Musick and Beauty.

Plate 9 The Power of Musick and Beauty.

To see the full record for Universal Harmony, visit IUCAT. Call Number: M1613.3.U55 1745

Reference: H. C. G. Matthew, ‘Gladstone, Herbert John, Viscount Gladstone (1854–1930)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Sept 2010 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/33417, accessed 1 Dec 2014]

Photography by Zach Downey.

December 18, 2014

Victorian Holiday Cards Exhibition through December 23

Filed under: Exhibitions — Rebecca Baumann @ 5:04 pm

Cards from the Lilly Library’s collection of Victorian holiday cards will be exhibited in the Lilly’s Lincoln Room through December 23rd.nc1866-c5-39_00001

The tradition of the Christmas card dates to 1843, when Sir Henry Cole asked John Calcott Horsely, R.A., to design a card that he could send to friends at the holiday season. One thousand copies of the lithographed, hand-colored card were produced, priced at one shilling each. The card’s central frame depicts a family feast, flanked by two images of charity to the poor.

The influence of the Valentine card, which predated the Christmas card, is clearly visible in the earlier cards with either flowers and lace-paper.  As time went on, the cards became ever more elaborate and decorative and it became fashionable to collect as many cards as possible. Victorians filled their scrapbooks with pasted-down paper images bursting with sentiments of holiday merriment and cheer.  New printing techniques, such as chromolithography, helped to spread the practice of producing, sending, and collecting these colorful cards in both Britain and America.

The cards displayed here represent the wide—and sometimes bizarre to modern tastes—range of imagery available on Victorian holiday cards.  Some of the cards contain familiar figures such as Santa Claus, popularized by the 1823 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (“‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”) by Clement Clarke Moore and illustrations by the American cartoonist Thomas Nast.

Other images, however, are more puzzling to the modern eye: colorful fruits and flowers, beach scenes, and summer days are featured as often as snow and cozy fires.  Popular humorous scenes often seem downright mean-spirited to modern sensibilities; on cards displayed here you’ll find brawling children, an elderly couple dumping a jug of water onto a group of jolly carolers, a bevy of smartly-dressed ladies pelting a hapless man with snowballs, and an old gentleman mired up to his waist in the snow.

Animals were always a favorite subject, as seen in the wide range of the Lilly Library’s eclectic collection: a caroling cat, robins marching with matchstick torches like an angry mob, and a frog waltzing with a beetle on the sandy beach are just a few of the whimsical, charming, and odd animal-themed cards on display.  Perhaps the most puzzling images are those of small dead birds, especially popular in Britain in the 1880s.  The symbolic meaning of these sad little lifeless feathered friends has been lost to history, but they are pasted in many Victorian scrapbooks alongside flowers, Santa, and sentimental greetings for happy holidays and a fruitful new year.

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October 23, 2014

Sanctity Pictured: The Art of the Dominican and Franciscan Orders in Renaissance Italy

Filed under: Manuscripts — Cherry Williams @ 2:15 pm

Please visit and enjoy a new exhibition opening Friday, October 31, 2014, at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville Tennessee, Sanctity Pictured: The Art of the Dominican and Franciscan Orders in Renaissance Italy. According to a press release by the Frist, this will be the “first exhibition dedicated to Italian Renaissance art in Nashville since 1934. The exhibition explores the role of two major religious orders in the revival of the arts in Italy during the period 1200 to 1550. It presents drawings, illuminated manuscripts, liturgical objects, paintings, prints , printed books, and sculptures drawn from American and European collections, including works of art from the Vatican Library and the Vatican museums that have never before been exhibited in the United States.”

The Lilly Library is honored to have been included in this exhibition, with three of our medieval manuscripts on display. The exhibition is on-going until January 25, 2015. For additional information please visit the Frist’s website.

Cherry Williams, Curator of Manuscripts

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medieval-and-renaissance-26_00006

October 9, 2014

Lilly Library and Folger Shakespeare Library link provenance of manuscripts

Filed under: Manuscripts — Kristin Leaman @ 12:43 pm

Making connections with other libraries and their staff is an important and rewarding part of the work we do as librarians and teachers, especially in special collections. These relationships can lead to important discoveries that may bring more understanding to specific materials, which in turn can be shared with a larger audience through digital media.

For example, a series of emails with Heather Wolfe, Curator of Manuscripts at the Folger Shakespeare Library, about the transcription of a Latin abbreviation, led to the realization that both the Lilly Library and the Folger Shakespeare Library possess related Star Chamber dinner accounts. It all began when I attended the Mellon Summer Institute in English Paleography at the Folger, taught by Heather. After many fun and fruitful weeks spent in the Folger, I then ventured back to the Lilly as a newly trained paleographer of secretary hand. In order to keep up on my training, I researched secretary hand manuscripts at the Lilly that I could transcribe. One of my findings were the Star Chamber Dinner Accounts 1591-1594, a collection of two manuscripts that list the food provided for the dinners, the cost, along with the individuals who attended. These dinners took place in the Inner Star Chamber at the end of a day’s work. Wednesday and Friday were the customary Star Chamber days; Fridays were “fishdays.” These dinners occurred during Michaelmas, Hilary, Easter, and Trinity, the four legal terms, and were provided at the public expense. The growing costs of these lavish dinners apparently concerned William Cecil, Lord Burghley, who signed off on these dinners as Lord Treasurer.*

The manuscripts are fascinating, so I took them to my desk and got straight to work. When I came across a Latin abbreviation I did not recognize, I emailed Heather for help. Her response was both helpful and surprising, as she asked if the Lilly copies of the Hilary term dinners looked similar to their copy of the Hilary term dinners from their collection, Expenses of the diet provided for the council in the Star Chamber [manuscript], 1591-1605. After a series of emails and digital images, the shared provenance was confirmed. This discovery was a happy accident, which made me even more appreciative to have been a part of Heather’s paleography class at the Folger.

For more images of the Folger Library and Lilly Library’s copies of the Star Chamber dinner accounts for the Hilary terms and for more information concerning the manuscripts, please visit Heather Wolfe’s blog post on the Collation. I am currently transcribing the Lilly copies, while the Folger will be transcribing their copies as part of their EMMO project. Please contact Kristin Leaman at kbleaman@indiana.edu for digital images of the Lilly copies, or to schedule a time to come in and see the manuscripts.

*Cora L. Scofield, “Accounts of Star Chamber Dinners, 1593-4,” The American Historical Review 5, no. 1 (1899): 83-95

Paper covers for Star Chamber dinners for Hilary Term 1594/95, Lilly Library, Indiana University, TX360.G8 Lilly mss. (photo by Zach Downey and permission of the Lilly Library).

Paper covers for Star Chamber dinners for Hilary Term 1594/95, Lilly Library, Indiana University, TX360.G8 Lilly mss. (photo by Zach Downey and permission of the Lilly Library).

Page from Star Chamber dinners for Hilary Term 1594/95, Lilly Library, Indiana University, TX360.G8 Lilly mss. (photo by Zach Downey and permission of the Lilly Library).

Page from Star Chamber dinners for Hilary Term 1594/95, Lilly Library, Indiana University, TX360.G8 Lilly mss. (photo by Zach Downey and permission of the Lilly Library).

Paper covers for Star Chamber dinners for Hilary Term 1591/2, Folger MS V.b.105 (photo by Heather Wolfe and permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library).

Paper covers for Star Chamber dinners for Hilary Term 1591/2, Folger MS V.b.105 (photo by Heather Wolfe and permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library).

Page from Star Chamber dinners for Hilary Term 1591/2, Folger MS V.b. 105 (photo by Heather Wolfe and permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library).

Page from Star Chamber dinners for Hilary Term 1591/2, Folger MS V.b. 105 (photo by Heather Wolfe and permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library).

September 8, 2014

Special Collections and Primary Sources Consulting Hours in Wells Library Scholars Commons

Filed under: Programs and Services — Rebecca Baumann @ 11:14 am

Would you like to discuss innovative ways to incorporate primary source research into your course curriculum? Are you curious about how primary sources on campus might enhance your own research projects? Would you like to know more about the resources of the Lilly Library?

Staff members from the Public Services Department of the Lilly Library will be available every Tuesday from 1:00-3:00 in Room K of Wells Library’s new Scholars Commons to discuss ways in which you can utilize the Lilly Library’s vast holdings in your own research or in your class and assignment design.  The Lilly Library’s Public Services Department conducts over 300 class sessions a year, and creative assignments arising from these sessions include digital exhibitions, graphic designs inspired by medieval manuscripts and comic books, tweets of recipes from our historical cookbook collection, and many other exciting projects.

Faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates are all welcome.  Of course you can also still contact us by phone (855-2452), email (liblilly@indiana.edu) or by stopping by the Lilly Library.

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August 29, 2014

Calendrier Magique Featured on Slate Vault

Filed under: Books,In the news — Rebecca Baumann @ 1:36 pm

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.

August 25, 2014

August 28 Lecture and Reception: The Unseen World

Filed under: Events,Exhibitions — Rebecca Baumann @ 10:07 am

maguscropOurs is a haunted world. Belief in and fear of ghosts, demons, and unseen forces is an undeniable part of human experience. The Lilly Library’s summer exhibition, “Spiritualists, Sorcerers, and Stage Magicians” explores this fascination in items from the Lilly’s collections from the occult grimoires of Agrippa to stories of modern day ghost hunters stalking their spectral prey in the gaudy pages of 20th-century pulp magazines and comic books.
 
Please join us for a lecture and reception on August 28 at 5:00 to celebrate the closing of our summer exhibition.  Exhibition curators Rebecca Baumann and L. Anne Delgado will highlight some of the mesmerizing narratives that emerge from the pages of the items on display.  Rebecca Baumann, a Reference Associate at the Lilly Library and PhD candidate in the Department of English, will discuss the relationship between magic and the print culture as well as the history of the Lilly Library’s acquisitions in this collecting area.  L. Anne Delgado, a Lecturer in the Department of English who completed her PhD at IU and has written extensively on esoteric topics, will focus on spiritualism, science, and the curious emergence of ectoplasm in the 19th century.  She will introduce a cavalcade of historical figures both exalted and forgotten: lauded stage magicians jealously guarding their craft, scheming mediums who used the public’s hunger for ghosts to develop their own unique forms of performance, and psychical researchers who tried to reconcile science with spirits.

August 11, 2014

August 18: Egyptology and the Occult: The Enigmatic Friendship of Aleister Crowley and Battiscombe Gunn

Filed under: Events,Exhibitions — Lilly Library @ 10:30 am
Photograph of Aleister Crowley

Aleister Crowley

The late Victorian period was the time in which the modern world as we know it took shape. The industrial revolution was in full swing, scientific and technical discoveries were coming at dizzying pace, and the many scholarly disciplines that deal with the human cultures became recognizable in their modern forms: anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, and of course Egyptology, among others. But at the same period, particularly in Britain, there was also an explosion of interest in the occult, the paranormal, and the esoteric – interests that developed directly into what is now often described as “New Age” philosophy.

Ancient Egypt was one area in which modern scholarship and esotericism overlapped, and even converged. It is not often remembered today that in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a number of mainstream scholars of antiquity were interested in esoteric or occult subjects. One very interesting case is that of Battiscombe Gunn (1883-1950), still remembered as one of the most insightful Egyptologists of his generation. What is less well known is that Gunn was associated, apparently in more than a casual way, with Aleister Crowley. Crowley, of course, was and remains the most notorious British occultist of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries — an individual who was known to his detractors as the “wickedest man in the world,” and who proudly proclaimed himself to be the “Beast 666.” We will first lay out the evidence for the “friendship” – if that is what it was – between Gunn and Crowley. We will go on to discuss how and why Gunn, and a number of his scholarly contemporaries, were interested in the esoteric and the occult. And we will discuss the reasons why esotericism and mainstream Egyptology eventually went their separate ways.

Steve Vinson
“Egyptology and the Occult: The Enigmatic Friendship of Aleister Crowley and Battiscombe Gunn”
August 18, 3:30 PM
Lilly Library Slocum Room

Steve Vinson is an associate professor of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Indiana University in Bloomington, who earned his doctorate in Egyptology at the Johns Hopkins University in 1995. He is currently working on a book on historical and critical approaches to ancient Egyptian literature.

July 29, 2014

Cats Invade the Foyer at the Lilly Library

Filed under: Exhibitions — Isabel Planton @ 11:00 am

Starting in August, cats of many stripes will make an appearance at the Lilly Library, contained within the pages of children’s books. The foyer exhibition cases will feature feline characters in books spanning from the 18th through 21st centuries.

With few exceptions, until the seventeenth century the relationship between cats and humans was a purely practical one. In exchange for shelter, cats kept the mouse population at bay. However, by the eighteenth century, cats had charmed their way into humans’ hearts and became household companions. Likewise, the roles played by cats in children’s literature have expanded over time. Cats began as characters in fables and moral tales and later moved on to portray everything from tricksters to mystical creatures to heroes. Visit the Lilly Library this summer to view every breed of literary cat from pop-up to miniature, comedic to poetic.

 

Stalking a mouse

Dame Tabby teaches her kitten the art of mousing in Pussy’s Road to Ruin, or, Do as You Are Bid by Clara de Chatelain, ca. 1840.

 

Colleen Barrett, Reference Assistant

Isabel Planton, Reference Associate

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.

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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.

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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

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