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November 24, 2015

Sam Loyd, Puzzle King: Exhibition and Talk by Will Shortz

Filed under: Events,Exhibitions — Lilly Library @ 12:06 pm

Indiana University Libraries 2015Did you miss the talk by Puzzlemaster Will Shortz at the Lilly Library on November 5th? Don’t worry! Here’s your chance to be a virtual guest in our beautiful library. You can view and listen to the full presentation by Mr. Shortz here.

This fall in the Main Gallery we are proud to present an exhibition on the nineteenth-century puzzle designer Sam Loyd. This is our first puzzle exhibition in the Main Gallery and was made possible with the gracious help of co-curator Will Shortz, who, in addition to being the editor of the New York Times Crossword, is also a collector of and expert on Sam Loyd and his puzzles. A number of the items on display were loaned by Mr. Shortz for this exhibition.

The nineteenth century was a fertile time for the development of puzzles, as can be seen from the puzzles featured in our Slocum Room exhibition. By the end of the century, there had been two major international puzzle crazes, and in the last years of the century there were a few notable puzzle designers. The most prolific of these designers was the American puzzle designer Sam Loyd.

Sam Loyd began his career as a puzzle designer at sixteen when he became the chess problem editor for Chess Monthly after having designed his first puzzle at the age of fourteen. Soon he was expanding his designs into other types of puzzles. The first puzzle he designed in this new direction was The Trick Donkeys produced around 1868. This puzzle came on a card that was divided into three pieces, two with donkeys and one with two jockeys. The goal was to place the pieces so that it looks like the jockeys are riding the donkeys. It seems simple to figure out but rarely does anyone find the answer without seeing the solution. This puzzle was followed up by many other puzzles, including The Pony Puzzle, The Puzzled Neighbors, and The Wonderful 31 Game just to name a few. These puzzles were featured on an early form of advertising called trade cards, which were cards placed on store counters to advertise products. Many of these were printed by Loyd himself from his own print shop in his hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey.

As the popularity of newspapers and magazines began to grow, Loyd started contributing to many publications. His puzzles appeared in puzzle columns for newspapers such as The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, The New York Journal, The Boston Herald, and The Chicago Record-Herald. One of his most well-known puzzle publications was his monthly column in Woman’s Home Companion which he published from 1904 to his death in 1911. The puzzles in these publications were gathered and published in 1914 in the collection titled Cyclopedia of 5,000 Puzzles, Tricks and Conundrums.

Come see the exhibition Sam Loyd: Puzzle King in the Main Gallery of the Lilly Library, which will be on display through December 20th. You can also pick up a free copy of The Trick Donkeys to test out your puzzle solving skills!

Andrew Rhoda

Curator of Puzzles

Jerry Slocum, donor of the Slocum Puzzle Collection (left); Will Shortz, New York Times Crossword Puzzle Editor (center); and Andrew Rhoda ,Lilly Library Curator of Puzzles (left)

Jerry Slocum, donor of the Slocum Puzzle Collection (left); Will Shortz, New York Times Crossword Puzzle Editor (center); and Andrew Rhoda ,Lilly Library Curator of Puzzles (left)

November 2, 2015

Boxer Codex on Exhibit at New York Asia Society

Filed under: Exhibitions,In the news,Manuscripts — Cherry Williams @ 3:46 pm

boxer1One of the Lilly Library’s most treasured manuscripts, the Boxer Codex, is currently on exhibit at New York City’s Asia Society. The Boxer Codex (ca. 1595) boxer2contains written descriptions and over seventy-five colored drawings of the various ethnic groups of the present-day Philippines (including the Tagalogs, Visayans, Zambals, and Negritos) at the time of their initial contact with Spanish explorers. The painting technique, paper, ink, and paints suggest that the unknown artist may have been Chinese. It is a beautiful and unique artifact of early European contact with the Far East.

The manuscript is on loan to the Asia Society for its exhibition titled Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms, which runs from September 11, 2015 through January 3, 2016. As noted in a recent New York Times review, this “gorgeous and historically intriguing exhibition” documents the work of “astoundingly skillful goldsmiths… with many objects… so small and finely made that… magnifying glasses are provided in order for viewers to see the marvels of the technical prowess they reveal.”

In addition to the Boxer Codex, the exhibition contains approximately 120 pieces from the 10th through the 13th centuries which provide an opportunity to view the original gold objects depicted by the artist of the Boxer Codex as he illustrated the costumes and accoutrements of the indigenous peoples of the Southeast and Eastern regions of Asia. During a visit to the Museum, one of the consulting curators of the exhibition, Florina Capistrano-Baker of the Ayala Museum, Philippines, shared with me the discovery that it was illustrations in the Boxer Codex which allowed the exhibition’s curators to determine how some of the objects originally would have been used or worn.

The Boxer Codex came to the Lilly Library as a part of the collection of books and papers of Charles Ralph Boxer, a historian of Dutch and Portuguese maritime and colonial history who wrote many books and articles about the origins and growth of the Dutch and Portuguese empires.  Boxer joined the British Army in 1923 and while on military assignment to Hong Kong and other similar locales, he began to assemble a notable rare book collection which subsequently was seized by the Japanese for the Imperial Library in Tokyo. Following the war, however, he was able to recover most of his library, and it is these materials which form the nucleus of his collection which then came to the Lilly Library. The Boxer Codex is part of the Boxer mss. II, and can be viewed upon request in the Lilly Library’s Reading Room when it returns in January. A digitized version can be viewed here.

Cherry Williams, Curator of Manuscripts

Will Shortz Lecture and Reception: Thursday, November 5

Filed under: Events,Exhibitions — Lilly Library @ 9:46 am

15PuzzleImageJoin us on Thursday, November 5 at 5:30 PM as we welcome Will Shortz to the Lilly Library! Mr. Shortz will be discussing “Puzzle King” Sam Loyd in conjunction with our spectacular fall exhibition. Come in to see the exhibition, hear the talk, and stay for a reception to follow. This event is free and open to the public; seating is limited and will be filled on a first come, first serve basis.

Also join us on Wednesday, November 4 at 8:00 PM in the Whittenberger Auditorium at the Indiana Memorial Union for “The Art of the Puzzle,” a Q&A with Will Shortz, followed by a live word puzzle competition.

Born in Crawfordsville, Indiana, Will Shortz began his career at a young age. By sixteen, he was a regular contributor to Dell puzzle publications. Shortz graduated from Indiana University’s Individualized Major Program with a degree in Enigmatology. After graduating with a law degree from the University of Virginia, he returned to puzzles, becoming NPR’s Puzzlemaster in 1987 and editor of the New York Times crossword in 1993. Shortz owns the world’s largest puzzle library, with more than 25,000 puzzle books and magazines dating back to 1533.

October 20, 2015

New Lecture Series Starts Monday, October 26

Filed under: Events,Exhibitions,Manuscripts — Cherry Williams @ 8:10 am

ricketts-97_00001Join us on Monday, October 26, 4:00-5:30 pm in the Slocum Room as we inaugurate “Monday Scholars’ Talks,” a new monthly discussion group focusing on various strengths of the Lilly Library’s collecting areas and featuring scholars from around the campus.

The first meeting will concentrate on the upcoming exhibition planned for the Lilly Library Main Gallery in spring of 2016, titled “The Performative Book: Agent of Creativity from Medieval Europe to the Americas.” The exhibition’s co-curators, Professor Hildegard Keller of Germanic Studies and Professor Rosemarie McGerr of Comparative Literature, will explore the focus and impetus of the exhibition. Also present will be Jim Canary, Head of the Lilly Library Conservation Department, who will provide insights into the behind-the-scenes activities involved in mounting an exhibition, and Lori Dekydtspotter, President of the Friends of the Lilly Library, who will introduce the speakers.

A reception will be provided courtesy of the Friends of the Lilly Library. Anyone with an interest in special collections, rare books, or medieval studies is welcome to attend!

October 9, 2015

Rational Amusements: Nineteenth-Century Puzzles on Exhibition in the Slocum Room

Filed under: Exhibitions — Lilly Library @ 11:43 am
"Kopfzerbrecher," Anchor #8. F. Ad. Richter & Co., 1899

“Kopfzerbrecher,” Anchor #8. F. Ad. Richter & Co., 1899

One of the puzzle exhibitions this fall at the Lilly Library features puzzles from the last half of the nineteenth century. During this time period, people began to find themselves with more leisure time, and puzzles were one way that they entertained themselves and also exercised their intellects. This exhibition features the different types of amusements that were available in the late nineteenth century.

One particularly famous group of puzzles in the exhibition are the Richter Anker puzzles. Also referred to as the Anchor Stone Puzzles, they were created by the F. Ad. Richter Company of Rudolstadt, Germany (Slocum and Gebhardt 12-13). Through the company’s association with the Kindergarten educational movement, Richter began developing building block sets and other materials for educators to use (Slocum and Gebhardt 14-15).

Soon after the Richter Company developed a ceramic stone version of the Tangram, a puzzle popular with likeminded educators, which they called Der Kopfzerbrecher (Slocum and Gebhardt 20-21). Also called The Anchor Puzzle in English due to the company’s ship anchor logo, this puzzle was the first in a long line of puzzles from the company. Other puzzles from the Richter Company featured in the exhibition include the Kreis-Rätsel (Circular Puzzle), the Kreuzzerbrecher (Cross Breaker), the Blitzableiter (Lightning Conductor), and the Kobold (The Goblin).

Another famous puzzle featured in the exhibition is The 15 Puzzle. This puzzle created a craze in 1880 that was unrivaled until the production of the Rubik’s Cube. The object of the puzzle is to take a set of numbered block, place them in the provided tray in a random order and then slide the numbers to achieve the correct numerical order. One of the reasons this puzzle created such a craze was the fact that when the blocks are placed randomly, half of the time the puzzle is unsolvable. This led to situations in which one person would solve the puzzle and then give it to another person who would start from one of the impossible positions.

For a number of years the true designer of the puzzle was a mystery. Great American puzzle designer Sam Loyd claimed that he created the puzzle, accepting the fame and infamy that came with it. However, puzzle researchers Jerry Slocum and Dic Sonneveld were able to find definitive evidence that the designer was a postmaster from Canastota, New York, Noyes Chapman (109). Unfortunately for Mr. Chapman, his patent for The 15 Puzzle was rejected, most likely because it resembled another patent submitted a year earlier (Slocum and Sonneveld 100-102). Soon afterwards the puzzle traveled by word of mouth to Boston where it was first commercially produced by Matthias Rice (Slocum and Sonneveld 109).

Other puzzles include classic take-apart puzzles that are featured in Professor Hoffmann’s classic work Puzzles Old and New. Professor Hoffmann, pseudonym of English lawyer Angelo John Lewis, was the first writer to categorize puzzles. The book is considered an authority on the puzzles of the period and provided collectors in the late nineteenth century with a wealth of information previously unavailable (Hoffmann vi). Some puzzles have become so associated with Hoffmann’s book that they are known even today as “Hoffmann” puzzles (Hoffmann vi). In the exhibition are examples, both from the nineteenth century and modern reproductions, of these classic “Hoffmann” puzzles.

These items and more nineteenth century puzzles are available in this Slocum Room exhibition, where you can see the wide array of intellectual amusements that were available in the late nineteenth century. The exhibition will run until the end of the fall semester.

Andrew Rhoda

Curator of Puzzles

Cannon and Ball, ca. 1886

Cannon and Ball, ca. 1886

Works Cited

Hoffmann, Professor. Puzzles Old and New. London: Frederick Warne and Co., 1893.

—. Puzzles Old and New. Ed. L. E. Horden. Facsimile edition. London: Martin Bresse Limited, 1988.

Slocum, Jerry and Dic Sonneveld. The 15 Puzzle: How it Drove the World Crazy. Beverly Hills, CA: The Slocum Puzzle Foundation, 2006.

Slocum, Jerry and Dieter Gebhardt. The Anchor Puzzle Book: The Amazing Stories of More Than 50 New Puzzles Made of Stone. Beverly Hills, CA: The Slocum Puzzle Foundation, 2012.





September 24, 2015

Max Eastman’s Century: A Lilly Library Themester Exhibition

Filed under: Exhibitions — Lilly Library @ 1:15 pm

eastman-ii_00159edit “Max Eastman’s Century” draws on one of the richest author collections in the Lilly Library (more than 80 cubic feet). The acquisition of Max Eastman’s archives and library began with director David Randall’s letter to Max in 1957 and continues until the present, thanks to the efforts of Randall’s successors, notably Breon Mitchell (now the executor of Eastman’s estate). The writer, editor, poet, and political activist Max Eastman (1883-1969) took part in, and actively influenced, the dominant intellectual trends of the better part of the twentieth century. He knew personally the most important minds of his time and corresponded with the ones he didn’t know. The son of two progressive ministers (his mother was the first ordained female minister in the state of New York), Max grew up surrounded by people with strong views about social justice and civil rights. Following in his mother’s footsteps and with his sister Crystal as an ally, he began campaigning for women’s suffrage, becoming one of the most sought-after speakers at suffragist rallies. Leaving Columbia University, where he had been a student of John Dewey’s, without formally submitting his dissertation on Plato, he soon made his mark as an editor of The Masses and, subsequently, The Liberator, becoming one of the most important radical voices in the United States during the years leading up to and following World War I.

A prolonged stay in Moscow and on the coast of the Black Sea convinced Max that a better society could not be achieved by ideology but by scientific “engineering” (a promise embodied by Lenin and betrayed by Stalin). Through his 1924 marriage to Eliena Krylenko, Eastman became the brother-in-law of Nikolai Krylenko, the former commander of the Red Army and later Stalin’s minister of justice. Eastman was fluent in Russian, translated Trotsky, and remained, for more than four decades, one of the most active commentators on Russian affairs in the United States. Eastman wrote poetry, toured the United States lecturing about everything from the sense of humor to sex in literature, produced and narrated one of the first and enduringly important political documentaries (From Tsar to Lenin, 1937), created and hosted one of the first successful radio quiz shows, and blazed a trail for nudist beachgoers everywhere by walking around naked on the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard. After he published a frank account of his life, Enjoyment of Living (1948), critics hailed him as the Alfred Kinsey of autobiography. And he continued to have the nation’s attention: in 1959, for example, he told Mike Wallace, in widely discussed television interview, that the word “God” had no meaning for him. With his third wife, the social worker Yvette Székely (1912-2014), he retreated to his island refuge on Martha’s Vineyard, from where he continued to attack what he believed the American indifference to Russian totalitarianism.

Shunned or criticized by many of his former friends on the Left, the proudly atheistic Max never found a comfortable home among conservatives either. He ended his spectacular career on the payroll of Reader’s Digest. For a while, Max’s name even appeared on the masthead of the National Review until he withdrew, disgusted by the piousness of its contributors. Yet he insisted that he had in fact never changed his views; the century around him had changed instead, he said, and terms such as “left” and “right” had lost their significance. In his final days, Max Eastman’s main fear was that that last certainty he had was gone, too—that, after having lived through the whirlwind of a century of ideas, the day would come when he would no longer “wake up as Max.”

“Max Eastman’s Century” was developed in conjunction with the 2015 “Themester” of the College of Art and Sciences at IU, “@Work: The Nature of Labor on a Changing Planet.” It was supported by a Themester grant from the College of Arts and Sciences. The exhibition can be viewed in the Lilly Library’s Lincoln Room until November 21. Christoph Irmscher, the curator of the exhibit, has just completed a new biography of Max Eastman.

September 22, 2015

Happy Birthday, Bilbo Baggins!

Filed under: Books,Exhibitions — Guest Blogger @ 8:03 am

September 22nd is Hobbit Day! Hobbit Day, first proclaimed by the American Tolkien Society in 1978, marks the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, characters from J. R. R. Tolkien’s books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. In Tolkien’s lore, Bilbo was born in the year 2890 and Frodo in the year 2968 of the Third Age.

When did “hobbit” become a word? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, in 1710 “hobbit” was a variant spelling of the word “howitz” or “howitzer,” which was a piece of artillery. The first instance of the word “hobbit” meaning creature appeared in an English folklorist’s collection of pamphlets called the “Denham Tracts: A Classified Catalogue of Antiquarian Tomes, Tracts, and Trifles.” The pamphlet containing “hobbit”  was printed in 1853 and is titled: “To all and singular The Ghosts, Hobgoblins, and Phantasms of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, these brief pages are fearlessly inscribed, in utter defiance of their power and influence, by their very humble servante to com’aund, M. A. D.” Some scholars theorize that hobbit could be a derivative of the word hobgoblin. Tolkien certainly would have had access to this pamphlet at Oxford University. In Middle-Earth, however, hobbits are hole-dwelling, easy-going people who are shorter than men, have hairier feet, and are the only species in Middle Earth humble enough for the wizard Gandalf to entrust with the task of carrying the One Ring to its annihilation.

Tolkien first published The Hobbit, or There and Back Again in England on September 21, 1937. The first edition has light green covers stamped in dark blue. Smaug, the dragon of the fantasy novel, can be seen lurking in the cover’s corners. Tolkien, a philologist and creator of languages, actually wrote the runic inscription around the edges of the dustjacket. Translated it reads: “The Hobbit or There and Back Again being the record of a year’s journey made by Bilbo Baggins of Hobbiton compiled from his memoirs by J. R. R. Tolkien and published by George Allen and Unwin Ltd.”

The Lilly Library’s first edition of The Hobbit can be seen until September 26th in the Main Gallery as part of the “One Hundred Books Famous in Children’s Literature” exhibition. Hurry! You only have a few days left!

“howitz, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2015. Web. 16 September 2015.
“hobbit, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2015. Web. 16 September 2015.
Gilliver, Peter, and Jeremy Marshall. The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006. Print.
Hammond, Wayne G., and Douglas A. Anderson. J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography. Winchester, UK: St. Paul’s Bibliographies, 1993. Print.


Kelsey Emmons

Graduate Student in Library Science and Lilly Library Public Services Intern


June 25, 2015

New Exhibition: Death by Gimmick!!! The Weird Side of Detective Fiction

Filed under: Books,Exhibitions — Rebecca Baumann @ 9:43 am


On display in the Lincoln Room this summer is a new exhibition, “Death By Gimmick!!! The Weird Side of Detective Fiction.”

Detective fiction by its very nature abounds with (or, some may argue, is plagued by) gimmicks. From the locked room to the twist ending to the eccentric detective, all aspects of this genre–plot, setting, and character—hinge on tricks, ploys, and clever strategies designed to fool, confound, frustrate, charm, and enchant devoted readers who are always looking for increasingly ingenious ways of thwarting their expectations.

Some authors, however, have gone beyond the normal shenanigans of the genre to create gimmicks that push their fiction into the territory of the bizarre. This summer, the Lilly Library pays tribute to some of the genre’s odder authors and also to the publishing houses that deployed truly ingenious marketing strategies to make their detective fiction all the more puzzling and appealing to readers for whom tricks are true treats.

Case #1 present a gamut of gimmicks, including Edgar Wallace’s 1905 novel The Four Just Men, which Wallace published without a solution and offered a huge prize (£250) to the reader with the correct solution; unfortunately, he forgot to specify that only one reader would win the prize, leaving many would-be sleuths disappointed. Also included are Dennis Wheatley’s innovative “Crime Dossiers,” in which the reader is presented with all of the evidence that a team of investigating detectives would need to solve a crime. Print material includes cablegrams, transcripts of interviews, handwritten letters, photographs, and newspaper clippings. Also included are bits of physical evidence: hair, cigarette butts, a fragment of a bloodstained curtain, and “poison” pills. After carefully considering all the clues, the reader is invited to tear open the sealed solution to see if he or she has solved the case.

Case #2 celebrates the work of Harry Stephen Keeler, the strangest writer of detective fiction ever to have lived. He created a gimmicky writing style that is almost unique in literature that he dubbed the “webwork plot.” He takes different “strands” (characters, objects, and events) that have nothing to do with each other and weaves them into a web of outrageous coincidences and odd events that end in a surprising and utterly implausible denouement. Keeler was born and raised in Chicago, and most of his novels are set there. His version of Chicago, “the London of the West,” is brimming with eccentrics, freaks, murderers, madmen, and thieves. Within the pages of his books readers can meet such characters as Luke McKraken (a yeggman, or safecracker), Sophie Kratzenschneiderwümpel (a husband-baiting temptress), Legga the Human Spider, Simon Grundt (the mentally handicapped janitor-turned-detective), Wah Hung Fung (Chinese mafia boss and rare book collector), André Marceau (known midget-hater), and Screamo the Clown (a dead clown).

Cases #3 and 4 display some of the gimmicks that paperback publishers of the 1930s and 40s used to make books more appealing to consumers. These cases show off Ace Doubles and Dell Mapbacks newly-acquired by the Lilly Library. Ace Doubles offer the readers two novels in one; read one (such as Weep for a Wanton), flip it over and read another (such as Dally with a Deadly Doll). Dell Mapbacks featured a map of a key location from the story on the back cover—the scene of the crime, an English Manor, or a small town with a terrible secret.

Most fans of detective fiction are drawn to the genre for a peculiarly paradoxical pleasure. On the one hand, the detective story is very familiar—the format, rules, character types, and plot points have changed little since the days of Sherlock Holmes; however, the mystery reader is always also craving something new, different, and strange. This exhibition showcases authors and publishers who successful captured the fleeting tension between familiarity and innovation that makes gimmicky detective fiction so much fun.

Curated by Rebecca Baumann, Education & Outreach Librarian


April 17, 2015

Slaughterhouse-Five on display in Dresden

Filed under: Exhibitions — Cherry Williams @ 2:23 pm

The Lilly Library is very pleased to have been asked to participate in the special exhibition, “Slaughterhouse 5 – Dresden Destruction in Literary Evidence,” currently on display from February 6th to May 12th 2015 at The Military Historical Museum of the Bundeswehr in Dresden, Germany:

Commemorating the 70th anniversary of the destruction of Dresden by Allied bombers between the 13th and 15th of February 1945, the focus of the exhibition is Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse-Five. As a prisoner of war, Vonnegut experienced and survived the bombing while being held captive in an annex of the new slaughterhouse. His literary work recording that experience created an enduring image of Dresden in the English-speaking world. The Lilly Library holds the Vonnegut archive including the original manuscript drafts of Slaughterhouse-Five on display.

The exhibition also includes writings, art and personal items from, among others, Erich Kästner, Walter Kempowski, Martin Walser, Gerhard Richter, Gerhart Hauptmann, Durs Grünbein, Roman Halter, Marcel Beyer and Rudolf Mauersberger. The exhibition provides documentation of a diversity of perspectives on the bombing with many items being shown publicly for the first time. The exhibition also focuses on Dresden’s destruction in the propaganda battles of the war and post-war period, and in myths and legends.


February 5, 2015

Democracy Men: Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln

Filed under: Exhibitions — Rebecca Baumann @ 5:13 pm

Case1This year marks the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, and the 160th anniversary of the publication of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (1855). This exhibition was designed in remembrance of these anniversaries and also, as a means of exploring the relationship between Lincoln and Whitman, two iconic figures in American history whose influence on American culture continues today.

Though they never met, Abraham Lincoln and Walt Whitman were each working toward a goal they unknowingly shared: national unity. Lincoln’s goal as President of the United States was to preserve the Union, and Whitman similarly promoted unity among humanity in his poetry. Specific examples of each man’s promotion of unity can be seen in their writings: for Lincoln, in his Gettysburg Address, and for Whitman, in his book of poetry, Leaves of Grass (1855), which was a cry for unity and equality among men.

With his delivery of the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln called for unity in the Nation, especially amongst the people, as he declared, “all men are created equal.” Whitman made a similar declaration in his poem “Song of Myself:” “For every atom belonging to me as good as belongs to you.” These two texts continue to occupy an important space in education and culture today. Whitman’s poetry has inspired musicians, artists, other poets, and is even referenced in movies and TV shows, and references to Lincoln occur frequently in the media. Both of these men remain monumental figures in popular culture today.

This exhibition was curated by Erika L. Jenns. Jenns is a second-year dual Master’s degree student in English and Library Science. Her studies in English focus on 19th-century American literature, and her MLS will be accompanied by the Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarianship specialization. At the Lilly Library, Jenns is the Assistant to the Head of Public Services, and she also works in the Conservation Department.


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:


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.

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.

nc1866-c5-item-146_00001nc1866-c5-144_00001wain cats

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

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.

March 4, 2013

Mediaevalia at the Lilly

Filed under: Events,Exhibitions — Lilly Library @ 12:55 pm

As one of Indiana University’s greatest resources, The Lilly Library’s rich collection of materials bears witness to the development of the history of the book and of European media culture. The series Mediaevalia at the Lilly aims to better publicize our collection of medieval and renaissance manuscripts by bringing established scholars and experts for lectures and hands-on workshops for students and faculty. The series is organized under the auspices of the Medieval Studies Institute, and run by Hildegard Elisabeth Keller (Germanic Studies) in collaboration with Cherry Williams, Curator of Manuscripts at the Lilly Library. One seminar per year is conducted by a scholar from the field of manuscript study, the history of the book, or early printing. In seeking to combine lectures with workshops, our goal is to make abstract ideas, as presented in the classroom, concrete by confronting students with the intractable nature of sources and giving them some sense of just how much can be gleaned from handwriting, type, parchment, paper, watermarks, title pages, musical notation, format, decoration, in short, all material aspects of the book over the course of the period stretching from Late Antiquity to the Reformation.

This year, Mediævalia 2013, featured Dr. Roger S. Wieck, Curator of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts at the Morgan Library & Museum. In addition, Dr. Wieck has held curatorial positions at the Walters Art Museum and the Houghton Library at Harvard. He is the author of The Prayer Book of Claude de France (2010), The Hours of Henry VIII: A Renaissance Masterpiece by Jean Poyet (2000), Painted Prayers: The Book of Hours in Medieval and Renaissance Art (1997), Time Sanctified: The Book of Hours in Medieval Art and Life (1988), and many other books and articles on medieval manuscripts. Prof. Keller’s interview with him can be seen on Youtube:

November 23, 2012

Faking the War of 1812

Filed under: Events,Exhibitions,Film,Online exhibitions — Lilly Library @ 9:00 am

Faking the War of 1812
A talk by Lawrence Hott, producer/director of the documentary film, The War of 1812
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
6:30 p.m., reception to follow
The Lilly Library

Lawrence Hott will discuss the problem of historical truth in documentary film, particularly in the context of the War of 1812, a period which presents a number of challenges to a documentary filmmaker. Hott is producer/director of the documentary film, The War of 1812, broadcast on PBS in October 2011. The War of 1812 film and bonus features can be viewed online, courtesy of PBS/WNED:

Lawrence Hott and his partner Diane Garey have been making documentary films since 1978 as part of Florentine Films, and later Hott Productions. Their productions are among the most-watched broadcasts on public television. Notable titles include John James Audubon: Drawn from Nature and Wild by Law, the story of the Wilderness Act of 1964 and three men responsible for its passage, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Hott’s awards include an Emmy, two Academy Award nominations, the duPont-Columbia Journalism Award, the George Foster Peabody Award, five American Film Festival Blue Ribbons, and Fourteen CINE Golden Eagles. He received the Humanities Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities in 1995; a Massachusetts Cultural Council/Boston Film and Video Foundation Fellowship in 2001; and the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism in 2001. He has been on the board of non-fiction writers at Smith College and has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Massachusetts Cultural Commission, and the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Hott is a former juvenile court investigator and a lawyer by training, who has said that the law and documentary filmmaking have more in common than one would think: “a lot of legal practice has to do with the presentation of arguments, working with people, and being clear in your correspondence. I can’t think of a better training for a filmmaker than three years of law school.”

The talk will be followed by a reception. Both the talk and the reception are sponsored by the Friends of the Lilly Library and take place in concert with the exhibition, The War of 1812 in the Collections of the Lilly Library, on view through December 15, 2012, in the Main Gallery of the Lilly Library. An expanded version of the exhibition is available online at:

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