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Indiana University Bloomington

February 23, 2011

IMU exhibition showcases Slocum puzzles

Filed under: Exhibitions — Guest Blogger @ 2:24 pm

Propaganda and Politics is an exhibition of puzzles from the Jerry Slocum Puzzle Collection that is currently located in the Indiana Memorial Union (IMU) across from Starbucks. The puzzles in the exhibition support a cause or portray a certain ideology, thus making them more than just a neutral pastime. It is interesting to see how puzzles could be used to support candidates and causes, and puzzles from several different eras are featured in the exhibition.

The exhibition is divided into four sections: politics, propaganda, war, and wartime. The political puzzles feature different candidates running for office, as well as governmental programs and issues. The propaganda puzzles are puzzles that have an overtly biased message that they want to get across. These puzzles are usually very patriotic or nationalistic and are meant to encourage people to support a cause or mindset. Puzzles of this type have messages like “Katch the Kaiser” or “Good Luck,” but there are also puzzles that supported the German cause as well. The puzzles in the war category feature different wars and battles and are more educational in that they portray specific battles or generals in the war. For instance, people playing with the puzzles can attempt to get the allies in Berlin or help Dewey maneuver his way into Manila Bay. Lastly, the wartime puzzles are very similar to the puzzles in the war category, but these puzzles are less informative and were more useful in helping people feel like they were a part of the war effort. Included in this section are puzzles that were sent to the soldiers fighting in the trenches in World War I, as well as a “blackout” puzzle, in which the lights must be blacked out before the air raid.

This exhibition features a variety of puzzles, and it is interesting to see how puzzles could be used to support different causes and candidates. The exhibition will be on display in the IMU until March 6, 2011.

—Brenna Henry, Exhibition curator

February 17, 2011

Slocum Manuscripts Now Available for Researchers

Filed under: Manuscripts — Craig Simpson @ 10:21 am

Jerry Slocum

The Slocum mss. is a newly processed collection of more than 100 boxes of personal papers donated by American puzzle collector, author and historian Jerry Slocum. Notable materials include: individually-indexed correspondence, featuring letters from New York Times editor of crossword puzzles Will Shortz, longtime Scientific American columnist Martin Gardner, and magician/actor Ricky Jay; records pertaining to the Slocum Puzzle Foundation, a nonprofit organization supporting the use of puzzles for educational purposes; transcripts from the “Rubik’s Cube Trial,” a highly publicized 1982 patent infringement suit in which Slocum was a key expert witness; and numerous drafts, page proofs, and accompanying research files for The Book of Ingenious & Diabolical Puzzles, The Tangram Book, Puzzles Old & New, and other Slocum-authored works. The 15 Puzzle Book, in which an exhaustive case is made for the actual inventor of the wildly popular 19th-century brainteaser, has a particularly impressive array of research materials.

Complementing The Lilly Library’s Jerry Slocum Collection of approximately 30,000 mechanical puzzles and 4,000 puzzle-related books, the Slocum mss reveal the breadth and depth of a lifelong pursuit.

—Craig S. Simpson, Lilly Library Manuscripts Archivist

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February 10, 2011

Sci-fi and Mystery writer/editor extraordinaire

Filed under: Manuscripts — David Frasier @ 2:10 pm

William Anthony Parker White [Anthony Boucher]

William Anthony Parker White, better known under his pseudonym Anthony Boucher, has since his death in 1968 achieved iconic status as a writer, editor, book reviewer, and critic of mystery, science fiction, and fantasy literature during the mid–1930s to late–1960s. The Mystery Writers of America three times bestowed upon Boucher its highest honor, the Edgar, in the field of criticism while the eponymous Bouchercon, an annual convention held since 1970 of writers, publishers, and fans of mystery and detective fiction, continues to ensure his immortality in the field. The White mss. in the Lilly Library contains an estimated 30,000 items ranging from Boucher’s editorial and personal correspondence with now legendary writers (Ray Bradbury, Raymond Chandler, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, Richard Matheson) to his own script work for radio (Sherlock Holmes, Ellery Queen), television (Kraft Suspense Theater), and print anthologies like Best Detective Stories of the Year and A Treasury of Great Science Fiction. In addition to manuscripts for many of his novels (Nine Times Nine, 1940), the collection also contains Boucher’s translations for works by Pierre Boileau, Jorge Luis Borges, and Belgian mystery writer Georges Simenon. Of special interest are the transcripts of interviews with noted science fiction writers (Poul Anderson, Isaac Asimov, James Blish, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Heinlein, Rod Serling) conducted for a Playboy magazine panel discussion moderated by Boucher entitled, “1984 and Beyond.” The final text for the discussion was published in two parts in Playboy (July & August 1963).

A brief description for the White mss. is available at http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/lilly/mss/html/white.html. A more detailed inventory for the collection including a partial list of correspondents, a list of writings (articles, short stories, scripts, screenplays, translations) is available in the Reading Room of the Lilly Library.

The Lilly Library also holds the Mystery Writers of America mss. Access to this largely uncataloged collection requires advance notice. Please contact the Curator of Manuscripts for additional information (liblilly [at] indiana.edu).

—David K. Frasier, Reference Librarian, Lilly Library

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