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Indiana University Bloomington

May 6, 2009

New illustrated works with military themes

Filed under: Books,Illustration,Manuscripts,New acquisitions — Cherry Williams @ 1:47 pm

Odelette Guerriere, title page

The Lilly Library has recently received two new works charmingly illustrated with remarkable depictions of military themes. The first, Odelette Guerrière (1870), by Catulle Mendès, is a small ode characterized by an erotic or jovial theme with a predominately descriptive narrative. The Lilly Library’s copy is unique because it is illustrated with 5 original water colors signed by French artist/illustrator Albert Bligny interspersed throughout the text. In addition, the luxurious volume was bound by Marius Michel in full red Morocco with gilt decorations, green silk and marbled end papers.

The second, a folio collection of 115 drawings and water colors by A. Rochet and R.P. Germain, depicts daily life on the home front in Dijon, France during the First World War (1914-1918).

– Cherry Williams, Curator of Manuscripts

View additional images from Odelette Guerrière and the Rochet and Germain folio

March 24, 2009

One Book One Bloomington discussion tomorrow

Filed under: Books,Events — Lilly Library @ 2:58 pm

The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is the 2009 selection for One Book One Bloomington.

The Lilly Library will host a book discussion for The Book Thief — tomorrow, Wednesday, March 25 at 4:00 p.m. Breon Mitchell, Director of the Lilly Library, will lead the discussion in the Lilly Library Slocum room.

March 2, 2009

Earliest Printing in Sarawak?

Filed under: Books,New acquisitions — Breon Mitchell @ 11:26 am

Spelling Book of the Dyak Language

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

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

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

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

– Breon Mitchell, Director

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

February 26, 2009

Art imitates life: Georg Kaiser

Filed under: Books — Breon Mitchell @ 11:50 am

Kaiser, Der gerettete Alkibiades

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

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

–Breon Mitchell, Director

View more images from Der gerettete Alkibiades.

December 4, 2008

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

Filed under: Books — Lori Dekydtspotter @ 12:54 pm

Poysons, title page

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

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

– Lori Dekydtspotter, Rare Books Cataloger

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

See more images of this book here.

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

October 20, 2008

Bound for the bottom of the sea

Filed under: Books,Manuscripts — Elizabeth Johnson @ 11:51 am

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

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

– Elizabeth Johnson, Head of Technical Services

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

September 15, 2008

New online exhibition: Daniel Defoe

Filed under: Books,Online exhibitions,web site — Erika Dowell @ 3:32 pm

Robinson Crusoe, first edition

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

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

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

September 12, 2008

John Bidwell lecture on Monday

Filed under: Books,Events — Lilly Library @ 3:21 pm

Declaration of Independence, 1776

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

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

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

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

September 8, 2008

Unique illustrations in Maupassant volume

Filed under: Books,Illustration — Lori Dekydtspotter @ 10:17 am

Mesples tn

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

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

— Lori Dekydtspotter, Rare Books Cataloger

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

September 2, 2008

The Division Viol

Filed under: Books,Music — Joel Silver @ 9:45 am

The Division Viol title page tn

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

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

The Division Viol figure tn

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

– Joel Silver, Curator of Books

View more images from The Division Viol.

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