Skip to main content
Indiana University Bloomington

May 27, 2010

Unexpected Treasures at the Lilly Library

Filed under: Exhibitions — Lilly Library @ 11:49 am

Rita Hayworth's makeup case_small

After sharing some of its treasures this spring, the Lilly Library is presenting some of its more surprising treasures during the summer of its 50th Anniversary year: Of Cabbages and Kings: Unexpected Treasures of the Lilly Library. This exhibition, which runs through September 4, 2010, offers a look at unusual books, manuscripts and other physical objects from the Lilly Library’s collections, including: A Catalogue of the Different Specimens of Cloth Collected in the Three Voyages of Captain Cook; Rita Hayworth’s makeup case; George Washington’s Proclamation…To Recommend…a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer; Guatemalan music manuscripts from the late 16th and early 17th centuries; the earliest known manuscript of Auld Lang Syne autographed by Robert Burns; and the first printing with music of The Star Spangled Banner. The exhibition also includes some royal materials, such as Queen Elizabeth I’s Great Seal, and the memoirs of King James II.

Objects from great artists’, poets’, and historical figures’ childhoods and everyday lives are on display, as well as love letters and locks of hair. Rare first editions, such as Webster’s American Dictionary (1828) and Chairman Mao’s “Little Red Book” (1964), are also included in the exhibition.

The title of this exhibition, Of Cabbages and Kings: Unexpected Treasures of the Lilly Library, is borrowed from Lewis Carroll’s poem, “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” found in his book entitled, Through the Looking Glass: “‘The time has come,’ the Walrus said, ‘To talk of many things; Of shoes—and ships—and sealing wax— Of cabbages—and kings— And why the sea is boiling hot— And whether pigs have wings.’”

And so, from May 24 to September 4, 2010, the time has come —here at the Lilly Library— to look at many things. We hope that you will experience the joy of unexpected discoveries that this exhibition offers. Of Cabbages and Kings: Unexpected Treasures of the Lilly Library is curated by Rebecca Cape, Erika Dowell, and Gabriel Swift.

—Rebecca Cape, Head of Reference and Public Services; Virginia Dearborn, Reference/Technical Assistant; and Gabriel Swift, Reference Associate

View a larger image of Rita Hayworth’s makeup case, pictured above.

January 14, 2010

WFHB Interviews Curator of Manuscripts

Filed under: Exhibitions,In the news,Lilly Library building — Virginia Dearborn @ 5:00 pm

Last week, WFHB Interchange host Dave Stewart interviewed our own Cherry Williams about the Lilly Library, its collections and 50th anniversary, and her role as Curator of Manuscripts. Cherry talked about rare books and special collections at IU predating the Lilly Library, as well the history of IU’s treasured rare books, manuscripts and special collections library.

Many of the people who visit the Lilly Library, including WFHB’s Dave Stewart, are struck by the unique collections and feel a sense of awe or excitement when surrounded by the special materials housed within the Lilly Library building. As Cherry explained in her interview, there may be a number of reasons for this common experience. Some people are fascinated by the antiquity of many of the Lilly Library’s collections; there are, for example, medieval manuscripts dating from the 12th century, a Gutenberg Bible from the 15th century, and copies of the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Others are excited by a particular item’s provenance, or history of ownership. What famous person owned (and touched) an item before it came to be at the Lilly Library? You would be surprised!

Finally, what strikes many Lilly Library visitors – and what drew Cherry Williams to apply for her post as Curator of Manuscripts – is that all of these wonderful collections of rare and special materials are accessible to the general public. None of the items in the Lilly Library are permitted to leave the Lilly Library, but nearly all of them may be viewed by anyone who wants to see them – either in one of the library’s galleries or by request in the Reading Room (which was renovated just last summer).

In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the Lilly Library will present three exhibitions this year the first of which is called Treasures of the Lilly Library.

You can listen to the entire WFHB interview with Cherry Williams online, or download it, at http://www.wfhb.org/news/interchange-cherry-williams-inside-ius-lilly-library.

December 2, 2009

Music for the Worms: Darwin at the Lilly Library

Filed under: Exhibitions — Guest Blogger @ 5:06 pm

Charles Darwin

From November 18 to December 19, 2009, a special exhibit at the Lilly commemorates the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species. The location of the exhibit in the Lincoln Room is particularly appropriate, since Darwin and Lincoln were born on the same day, on February 12, 1809, a coincidence that has led the New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik to label them the two “midwives to the spirit of a new world.” Gopnik’s Angels and Ages is just one of many books published in time for the Bicentennial that celebrate Darwin as a heroic, near–saintly battler against Victorian convention. By contrast, the Darwin highlighted in this exhibit is more hands–on: a thoroughly social and sociable being, a man equipped with an excellent sense of humor and a keen awareness of his popular appeal. The five cases of the exhibit track his career from the publication of Darwin’s first bestselling book, the Journal of Researches, now generally known as the Voyage of the Beagle, to his last popular success, The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms, in which he wanted to find out, among other things, if worms were susceptible to music (they weren’t). Unpublished letters (one of them even unknown to Darwin scholars) round off the image of a fluent writer who rebelled against the idea that scientific writing had to be, in the caustic words of Darwin’s admirer Stephen Jay Gould, “boring, inaccessible, illiterate, or unreadable.”

Highlights include a rare first edition of Origin as well as a late printing, annotated by his son Francis. The latter was originally in Darwin’s library at Down House and was recently purchased with the help of the Friends of the Lilly Library. Another new acquisition, the American edition of Origin, published by Appleton in New York, thanks to the Harvard botanist Asa Gray (1810–1888), Darwin’s most important supporter in the United States. Thanks to Curator of Manuscripts, Cherry Williams, we also now own a late carte–de–visite, likely one of Darwin’s last images from life.

Darwin’s friend Gray, a devout Presbyterian who did not work on Sundays, had hoped that there would be a way to reconcile evolution and faith. Difficult as it may be to assume that divine purpose governed natural selection, he wrote in his book Darwiniana (a first edition is on display at the Lilly), the alternative was even less satisfactory. Darwin politely disagreed. Would God have wanted to design a world in which cats cruelly play with mice? The subject was, he felt, too profound for the humans to comprehend—as if a dog wanted to understand Isaac Newton. Said Darwin, “Let each man hope and believe what he can.”

The exhibit is accompanied by a free, illustrated catalogue, written by the curator.

– Christoph Irmscher, Exhibition Curator and IU Professor of English

View a larger image of Charles Darwin.

November 24, 2009

On the Origin of Species

Filed under: Books,Exhibitions,In the news — Virginia Dearborn @ 5:01 pm

One hundred fifty years ago today, Charles Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species was published in London. Although he was not the first person in England to publish something about evolution, his work gained ground based on its accuracy and detail on the subject.

The Lilly Library is home to several editions of this work (see the link in the paragraph above), and many other editions and related works can be found in IUCAT.

Be sure to check out Music for the Worms: A Darwin “Themester” Exhibit at the Lilly Library in the Lincoln Room now through December 19, 2009. This exhibit is part of Evolution, Diversity, and Change, Indiana University’s Fall 2009 Themester.

October 8, 2009

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

Filed under: Events,Exhibitions,In the news,Manuscripts,Online exhibitions — Virginia Dearborn @ 4:24 pm

WPA

October is Archives and Special Collections Month! This year’s event is entitled Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? Documenting the Great Depression, and not only is the Lilly Library hosting an exhibition and a musical performance this month – please visit the event website for details – but there are also related online resources available from the Lilly Library year–round.

One of the Lilly Library’s first online exhibitions is called The Works Projects Administration* in Indiana. Created in 1997 by Lilly Library intern Patrick Dawson, this exhibition draws upon Great Depression–era materials donated by John K. Jennings (WPA Administrator for Indiana 1935–1943), including video and audio clips, as well as many photographs from various WPA projects carried out in Indiana.

*Introduced in 1935 as the Works Progress Administration, the WPA became known as the Works Projects Administration in 1939.

–Virginia Dearborn, Reference/Technical Assistant

September 30, 2009

Lilly Library Materials on Loan

Filed under: Exhibitions,Manuscripts — Cherry Williams @ 2:44 pm

house from Delany mss.

The Lilly Library actively collaborates throughout the year with other cultural heritage institutions in the exchange of materials for exhibition purposes. Current loans include materials from the Delany manuscript collection, included in the exhibition Mrs. Delany and Her Circle (September 24, 2009 – January 2, 2010) on display at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut in partnership with Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, England. Other ongoing exhibitions include Lincoln: The Man You Didn’t Know, at the Northern Indiana Historical Society, Inc. and the South Bend Center for History located in South Bend, Indiana.

A recently completed exhibition loan included a selection of correspondence to and from Thomas Mann seen at the Leo Baeck Institute, New York City in their exhibit: Publishing in Exile: German-Language Literature in the U.S. in the 1940s.

After returning from exhibitions, all of these materials are available for use in the newly renovated Lilly Library Reading Room by researchers and interested members of the general public.

— Cherry Williams, Curator of Manuscripts

View more images from the Delany mss. collection.

March 13, 2009

Islamic manuscripts on exhibition at the IU Art Museum

Filed under: Exhibitions,In the news,Manuscripts — Cherry Williams @ 9:02 am

Allen mss 10

Highlights from the Lilly Library’s collection of illuminated Islamic manuscripts and books were the focus of a Saturday morning symposium held on March 7, 2009, at the Hope School of Fine Arts. Papers presented by Prof. Christiane Gruber and her students, who have been studying the collection in detail, elaborated on previously unexamined aspects of the collection. The papers will be published by the Indiana University Press in December, 2009, with accompanying illustrations. The symposium complemented the on-going exhibit at the IU Art Museum:

From Pen to Printing Press: Ten Centuries of Islamic Book Arts
March 6–May 10, 2009
Special Exhibitions Gallery, first floor

The exhibition and related programs are made possible with support from Indiana University’s New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Program, funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc., and administered by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research; the Thomas T. Solley Endowment for the Curator for Asian Art; and IU Art Museum’s Arc Fund. The exhibition was curated by: Judy Stubbs, The Pamela Buell Curator for Asian Art, organizing curator, and Professor Christiane Gruber, guest curator.

– Cherry Williams, Curator of Manuscripts

View a larger image of Allen mss 10.

February 23, 2009

Last week: Keith Erekson talk and an iconic cake

Filed under: Events,Exhibitions — Lilly Library @ 1:21 pm

Lincoln cake

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

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

February 10, 2009

Celebrate Abraham Lincoln at February 12th reception

Filed under: Events,Exhibitions — Lilly Library @ 10:56 am

Lincoln

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

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

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

December 1, 2008

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

Filed under: Books,Exhibitions,Illustration,Manuscripts — Guest Blogger @ 4:01 pm

Thiebault travel journal

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

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

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

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

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

September 17, 2008

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

Filed under: Events,Exhibitions — Lilly Library @ 1:35 pm

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

« Previous Page

Powered by WordPress