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October 1, 2015
September 30, 2015
Banned Books Week 2015 (September 27–October 3) is sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) to “promote awareness of challenges to library materials and celebrate freedom of speech.”
ALA promotes your freedom to choose any material to read as well as the freedom for authors to express their opinions even if that opinion might be considered unpopular.
Libraries and schools around the country face attempts to remove or restrict materials, based on the objections of a group or sometimes a single person; this attempt to restrict is considered a challenge. Materials that are removed from reading lists and bookshelves are considered banned.
“Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.” (ALA website)
Books have been subject to censorship for centuries, and the Lilly Library has many books that were considered sensational, scandalous, or vulgar at some point in history.
One such controversial book is The Fruits of Philosophy, or the Private Companion of Young Married People by Charles Knowlton. It is a miniature book published in 1832 about birth control. The text contained a summary of what was then known on conception, listed a number of methods to treat infertility and impotence, and explained birth control in plain language and without moral judgements. The monograph was printed small–81 millimeters to be exact–so that it could easily be hidden by the patients to whom Dr. Knowlton gave it.
Knowlton was prosecuted, fined, and later (after a second edition was more widely circulated) imprisoned for three months hard labor for publishing the book. In the UK, social reformers Charles Bradlaugh and Annie Besant were also prosecuted for publishing and distributing the book. The publicity from these trials only increased the popularity of the little volume, and it is credited by scholars for popularizing contraception in Great Britain and America.
The Lilly Library’s copy of The Fruits of Philosophy comes from the library of miniature book collector Ruth Adomeit, whose over 16,000 tiny volumes are now housed among the Lilly Library’s collections. The case in which she stored it is wrapped with baby-themed wrapping paper—a somewhat cheeky housing for a book that once sent men and women to prison.
Modern books are still being challenged. The Lilly Library has copies of these controversial titles–and many more:
- Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
- Considered “anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic and just plain filthy.”
- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
- “Lord” and “Oh Lord” used as expletive
- To Kill a Mockingbrid by Harper Lee
- Portrays racial inequality, rape, has objectionable language
- Adventures of Huckelberry Finn by Mark Twain
- Racially offensive, uses “coarse” vernacular language
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- Portrays alcohol/cigarettes, has sexual content, uses vulgar language
- Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
- Portrays magic and witchcraft
For more information about Banned Books Week visit www.ala.org/bbooks/.
Graduate Student in Library Science; Lilly Library Public Services Intern
August 29, 2014
The 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 21, 2013
A small, interesting collection of author Elmore Leonard’s papers (http://purl.dlib.indiana.edu/iudl/findingaids/lilly/InU-Li-VAC2547) is available for research use at the Lilly Library. Leonard, who passed away at the age of 87 on Aug. 20, 2013, revolutionized the crime fiction genre (which had become grim and heavy-handed) with his distinctively snappy dialogue and fast-paced, often comedic storylines in novels like Get Shorty, Rum Punch, Freaky Deaky, Out of Sight, and LaBrava (winner of the 1984 Edgar Award). Many of these works were adapted into notable feature films, sometimes by Leonard himself. Late in his career, he turned to writing and producing TV drama with the successful “backwoods noir” series Justified.
The Leonard, Elmore mss. contain materials from the crucial period of 1970-1988, when Leonard transformed himself from a writer of Westerns into a crime novelist. Correspondence includes letters from Leonard recounting his struggles (“I’ve been getting by… on the strength of style and characterization in lieu of a good story… So what I’m going to do now is plot better stories. I’ll show ‘em.”) and eventual successes to his literary agent H.N. Swanson; letters from Leonard to Clint Eastwood, Kirk Douglas, and Burt Reynolds concerning their respective screen adaptations (Joe Kidd, Posse, Stick) of Leonard’s work; as well as a letter from Paul Newman, who starred in the movie adaptation of Leonard’s novel Hombre, regarding the author’s script The Hunted. Publishing materials include ad copy, press releases, and a rejection notice from Random House. Legal documents include contracts, copyright assignments, and agreements.
-Craig Simpson, Lilly Library Manuscripts Archivist
March 21, 2013
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries Brenda L. Johnson has announced the appointment of Joel Silver as the director of the Lilly Library, effective April 1.
“Joel is known internationally within the academy for his impeccable credentials as a rare books curator, a prolific scholar and brilliant professor,” Johnson said. “Over the past decade that Joel has served as associate director and most recently as interim director, Joel has become known for his collaborative leadership style and diligent work ethic. I have full confidence that he will be an outstanding director for the Lilly Library.”
An undergraduate English major at the University of California, Los Angeles, Silver went on to earn his Juris Doctor from Whittier College School of Law and his MLS at Indiana University. He began his long-standing career with the Lilly Library in 1983 and has served in multiple capacities: operations manager, curator of books, associate director to former Lilly director Breon Mitchell and interim director for two separate appointments. In addition, Silver is an adjunct associate professor and director of the special collections specialization in the IU School of Library and Information Science and an adjunct faculty member in the Department of English.
Silver has also made significant academic contributions with his scores of published articles, multiple books and numerous exhibition catalogs. He has a distinguished record as a lecturer and leader of rare-books-related workshops, and he has curated many exhibitions at the Lilly Library, including “The Reign of Charles II,” “J.K. Lilly, Jr.: Bibliophile,” “English Renaissance Prose” and “Five Centuries of Music.” His most recent book, “Dr. Rosenbach and Mr. Lilly: Book Collecting in a Golden Age,” was published by Oak Knoll Press in 2011.
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve as the director of the Lilly Library, one of the greatest repositories of rare books and manuscripts in the world,” Silver said. “The Lilly Library is known internationally for its broad and deep collections in many different subject areas, as well as for its commitment to serve all who wish to use them. I’m looking forward to continuing to build these collections, and to taking advantage of emerging technologies to help make them available to new audiences around the world.”
Consistently ranked among the nation’s top libraries for rare books, Indiana University’s Lilly Library contains more than 400,000 rare books, more than 150,000 pieces of sheet music and more than 7.5 million manuscripts — pivotal works of literature, history and shared culture.
The Lilly holds some of the university’s most important treasures, including the New Testament of the Gutenberg Bible; the first printed edition of Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales”; the First Folio of Shakespeare; John James Audubon’s “The Birds of America”; an extensive Abraham Lincoln collection; personal papers of Orson Welles and Sylvia Plath; and George Washington’s letter accepting the presidency.
The Lilly Library, on Seventh Street on Indiana University’s Bloomington campus, is part of the IU Bloomington Libraries. Regular business hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Admission is free and open to the public.
February 22, 2013
February 11th was the fiftieth anniversary of Sylvia Plath’s suicide. Two new biographies appeared this month to mark the occasion, see the New York Times review for an assessment of the works. Both authors paid a visit to the Lilly Library during their research, but a more unusual account of an experience of the Plath collections at the Lilly Library appeared online in the The Daily Beast. Former student employee Jessica Ferri describes her encounter in Touching Sylvia Plath’s Hair.
February 8, 2012
Craig Simpson, Lilly Library manuscripts archivist, and his colleague Gregory Wilson, University of Akron, History Department, discussed “Above the Shots: The Kent State Shootings and the Politics of Truth, Trauma and Reconciliation” at this year’s Oral History Association Annual Conference recently held in Denver. Craig and Gregory joined a panel of scholars who described how oral histories have been used to present a more complete picture of the protests on college campuses in the 1960s and 1970s. C-SPAN 3 recorded the presentation. You can view the session online.
January 26, 2012
The Lilly Library and Indiana University’s Digital Library Program are thrilled to announce the debut of the new online presence for the Jerry Slocum Mechanical Puzzle Collection: http://www.dlib.indiana.edu/collections/slocum/ The collection is one of several featured in the Indiana University’s new Image Collections Online site.
The Jerry Slocum Collection of mechanical puzzles embodies a lifetime pursuit of the intriguing and the perplexing. The collection is one of the largest of its kind in the world, with over 34,000 puzzles. Unlike word or jigsaw puzzles, mechanical puzzles are hand-held objects that must be manipulated to achieve a specific goal. Popular examples include the Rubik’s cube and tangrams. The puzzles in the collection represent centuries of mathematical, social, and recreational history from across five continents.
The online database currently allows researchers and puzzle enthusiasts to search and browse over 23,000 items from the Slocum collection, and soon it will include the entire puzzle collection. Users will also be able to request delivery of some items to the Lilly Library’s Reading Room for hands-on use and research.
The images in the database may be used for non-commercial educational or research purposes. If you use or reproduce our materials in any format, we ask that the Lilly Library always be cited as the source of the material with the credit line: Courtesy, The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. For commercial uses, please contact the Lilly Library at 1200 East Seventh Street, Bloomington, Indiana, 47405-5500 or at http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/. For more information about the Slocum puzzle collection, please visit the Lilly Library web page: http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/collections/overview/puzzles.shtml
May 31, 2011
Last week’s storms in central Indiana hit the Bloomington campus twice: Monday night (May 23) and Wednesday night (May 25). Nearly 300 trees on the campus were affected. Several were downed in the area of the Lilly Library, but fortunately there was no damage to the building. Clean up continues this week with the sound of chain saws and shredders all around.
January 12, 2011
On January 3, 2011, Lori Dekydtspotter accepted the position of Rare Books and Special Collections Cataloger at the Lilly Library. Lori comes to this position with fifteen years of experience in three different paraprofessional positions working in the Lilly Library Technical Services Department. She holds a Master of Library Science degree from Indiana University, with a specialization in Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarianship and an M.A. in English from Eastern Washington University, with a focus on Medieval Literature. Before coming to Indiana University, Lori worked at Cornell University’s Olin Library. In addition to her work at the Lilly Library, Lori is an Adjunct Instructor in the IU School of Library and Information Science, where she teaches an Introduction to Rare Books Cataloging workshop (S603) as well as a History of Libraries course (S580).
Meanwhile, we have had to say goodbye to two members of the Lilly Library staff: Gabriel Swift and Elizabeth McCraw. Gabriel, former Reference/Technical Associate in the Lilly Library, accepted a position at the Firestone Library, Princeton University, as Reference Librarian for Special Collections. Elizabeth, who was Senior Retrospective Conversion and Special Projects Cataloger at the Lilly Library, accepted a position as Special Projects Cataloger at UNC Chapel Hill. She will be cataloging printed materials in the North Carolina Collection and sound recordings for the Southern Folklife Collection.
Congratulations, Lori, Gabriel and Elizabeth!
December 16, 2010
Indiana University Professor of Germanic Studies and Comparative Literature and Lilly Library Director Breon Mitchell recently received the 2010 Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for an Outstanding Translation of a Literary Work from the Modern Language Association of America for his 2009 translation of Günter Grass’ 1959 novel Die Blechtrommel (The Tin Drum).
Read the official IU News Room press release.
A video clip from a discussion between Mitchell and Grass is available on YouTube.
Photo courtesy of Indiana University
October 6, 2010
The Lilly Library at Indiana University, Bloomington is very pleased to announce the arrival of its latest publication: Gilding the Lilly, A Hundred Medieval and Illuminated Manuscripts in the Lilly Library, written by Christopher de Hamel, Donnelley Fellow Librarian, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Fully illustrated, the book showcases a selection of a hundred items, described chronologically by Dr. de Hamel.
The Lilly Library manuscripts tell the unfolding story of European book production, art, language and literature, over more than a thousand years from the seventh century to the high Renaissance. The result is a graphic and engaging narrative of the survival and dissemination of culture in the pre-industrial world. Many of the manuscripts are described here for the first time, and they include items of extreme rarity and delicate beauty. The title, Gilding the Lilly, refers both to the burnished gold illumination used in many of these manuscripts and to the golden jubilee of the Lilly Library itself, founded in 1960.
The book is available for purchase at the Lilly Library by contacting Penny Ramon, email@example.com, 812-855-2452 and at the Friends of Art Bookshop, firstname.lastname@example.org, 812-855-1333. The perfect bound soft cover edition is $50.00; the Smyth Sewn hard cover edition is $100.00; the limited edition, of one hundred signed and slip cased hard cover copies, is $175.00.
August 19, 2010
In a recent article in the Travel section of the Washington Post, Washington writer Robin Soslow featured many of the local treasures—including the Lilly Library, of course—that make Bloomington the unique place it is. Soslow was particularly taken with the Lilly Library’s large collections of mechanical puzzles and miniature books, as well as the many rare and unique items in this summer’s main exhibition: Of Cabbages and Kings: Unexpected Treasures of the Lilly Library, on display through September 4, 2010.
April 28, 2010
Joel Silver, Associate Director and Curator of Books for the Lilly Library, has written a book about the collector for whose family the Lilly Library was named, Josiah Kirby Lilly, Jr., and Dr. A.S.W. Rosenbach, from whom Mr. Lilly bought many books and manuscripts. Published in limited first edition by Bird & Bull Press, Dr. Rosenbach and Mr. Lilly: Book Collecting in a Golden Age not only tells the story of these two particular men but also brings to light the golden age of book collecting in the earlier decades of the twentieth century.
For most of his life, J. K. Lilly, Jr. (1893–1966), of Indianapolis, was a devoted collector in many different fields. For some three decades, beginning in the mid–1920s, Mr. Lilly’s collecting attention was focused on assembling one of the finest private libraries of rare books and manuscripts in the world. Mr. Lilly’s collection, which was quite wide–ranging in scope, was particularly strong in American and British literature, American history, voyages and travels, and the history of science and medicine. In the mid–1950s, Mr. Lilly donated his collection of 20,000 books and 17,000 manuscripts to Indiana University, where it became the founding collection of the Lilly Library.
April 23, 2010
The William Evans Jenkins Librarian Award Committee is pleased to announce that the 2010 recipient is Elizabeth L. Johnson. Named for IU’s chief librarian from 1904–1932, the William Evans Jenkins Librarian Award recognizes the outstanding professional contributions of a present or former librarian and is awarded by the Bloomington Library Faculty Council.
Elizabeth Johnson received her MLS from The University of Texas in 1976, garnering the Outstanding Student Award in the process and earning membership in the Phi Beta Kappa and Beta Phi Mu societies. Since March 1980, she has held the position of Head of the Technical Services Department, Lilly Library. Elizabeth has been instrumental in securing a number of grants, notably the National Endowment for the Humanities Grant which enabled the cataloging of the Elizabeth Ball Collection of Children’s Literature (June 1985 – Dec. 1986) and The Library Construction and Services Act Grant for the retrospective conversion of Lilly Library serials (April, 2000–April, 2001). She has also been the recipient of several individual grants throughout her career, which have facilitated her participation in international programs in her specialty and enabled her to flourish into one of the Rare Books & Manuscripts Section’s (RBMS) “most respected — even beloved — and enduring leaders” (Jackie Dooley, Consulting Archivist, OCLC Research and the RLG Partnership).
Over the past three decades, Elizabeth has curated or co-curated several exhibitions, both at the Lilly Library and at other institutions, and has authored several publications in her field. Her works can be found among conference proceedings and in a variety of journals, including Rare Books & Manuscripts Librarianship. Some have been reprinted, while others have been translated into Japanese. Elizabeth has also served as secretary of the Bloomington Library Faculty (1992–2003), secretary of the Bloomington Library Faculty Council (2001–2002) and Unit Representative to the Bloomington Faculty Council (1999–2000; 2003–2004).
Elizabeth credits her love of special collections librarianship to her experience as a student employee at the University of Texas Humanities Research Center (Austin, Texas 1965–1968) and with Bertram Rota of London (1969–1971). For over two decades, she has helped to chart the course of rare books librarianship in myriad ways through her multifaceted service to RBMS: Executive Committee (5 years), Secretary (1991–1993), Vice–Chair/Chair–Elect, Chair, and Past–Chair (1995–1997), Bibliographic Standards Committee, Thesaurus editor, Chair, Nominating Committee, Budget and Development Committee, as well as the Continuing Education Committee, Seminars Committee and Conference Development Committee, Chair (2007–2010). Randal S. Brandt, Principal Cataloger, The Bancroft Library, Berkeley, states: “As an ambassador for RBMS and for the rare materials library profession in general, Elizabeth has few equals.”
In the course of her service to the RBMS, Elizabeth has been as attentive to the challenges posed by the physical aspect of rare materials as to their intellectual content, and has been a key player in the drafting of standards and guidelines currently in use by rare book libraries worldwide. Her “incisive grasp of cataloging rules, their application and implications” (Elaine Smyth, Head, Special Collections, Louisiana State Library), combined with “her interest in meeting new challenges and needs” (R. Arvid Nelsen, Archivist, Charles Babbage Institute) earned her a spot on the Working Group charged with revising The Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Books — a multi-year effort. As Chair of the RBMS Seminars Committee, Elizabeth has also made a significant contribution to pre-conferences, as an organizer, presenter and moderator.
In summary, “Elizabeth exemplifies all the best qualities of a topnotch professional librarian. She has authoritative mastery of her professional specialty, she is energetic and forward-thinking, and her organizational and leadership skills are notable. As a colleague, she is warm and collegial, offering welcome mentoring and support to novice and seasoned colleagues alike.” (Elaine B. Smyth) The Jenkins Award Committee concurs.
Elizabeth was recognized for her accomplishment at the Libraries’ Retirement & Recognition Reception, on April 22 and will be presented with her award at the Bloomington Library Faculty meeting, on May 17, 2010.
March 11, 2010
Based entirely upon the Lilly Library’s collections, a new work joins the ranks of bibliographical and historical publications that document the long, complicated history of Mexico–Texas relations before 1849. Lilly Texana: One Hundred Eighty Broadsides and Other Ephemera Relating to Texas, Printed and Published in Mexico before 1849 in the Lilly Library of Indiana University, by Everett C. Wilkie, Jr., describes a significant body of materials in the Lilly Library’s collections pertaining to Texas history that until now has been generally unrecognized or not reported to exist in the copy described. Most of the included items are not found in Thomas Streeter’s seminal Bibliography of Texas, the primary work in this area, or in other sources. Several entries represent the discovery of another copy of an item that Streeter believed to exist in only a single example.
The works described in Lilly Texana are part of the Bernardo Mendel broadside collection, which contains approximately 15,000 single–sheet items, pamphlets and ephemera, many of which are laws, other official pronouncements, or proclamations. Lilly Texana provides full bibliographic descriptions and historical context for each of the 180 works included and five indexes covering names, subjects, titles, publication, and bibliographic cross–references. The book will be of interest to anyone concerned with the history of Mexico–Texas relations, descriptive bibliography, the American Southwest, or the history of printing. Many of the items described are believed to be unique and demonstrate the often incredible depth of the Lilly’s unexplored collections.
More information about the publication and its author, as well as how to order Lilly Texana is available at http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/texana.shtml.
February 17, 2010
Save the date! On March 31, 2010 at 5pm author Carol Sklenicka will deliver a talk at the Lilly Library entitled A Pencil or a Meat Cleaver: Raymond Carver and His Editors about her recently published biography of American short story writer Raymond Carver, Raymond Carver: A Writer’s Life (2009).
“When Raymond Carver died too young at age fifty in 1988, readers lost a distinctive American voice. Carver’s reputation as the ‘American Chekhov’ and his influence on a generation of writers and on the form of the short story itself is well documented. What is not widely known, however, is how he became a writer so widely revered, how he suffered mightily to achieve his art, and how others around him were affected by the arc of his remarkable life. Carol Sklenicka…devoted ten years to researching and writing this book, interviewing hundreds of people in Carver’s life, some of them key figures who have since passed away. She has crafted a…meticulous biography.” —From the Scribner press release
The Lilly Library has manuscript collections from two of Carver’s editors: Noel Young (Capra Press Mss.) and Gordon Lish (Lish Mss.). Ms. Sklenicka will talk about both of these editors and the development of Carver’s relationship to them in the period between 1968 and the 1980s.
A reception will follow the talk.
January 28, 2010
In celebration of the Lilly Library’s 50th Anniversary, WFIU’s Artworks program recently presented a compilation of past episodes featuring some of the people and collections that make the Lilly Library the treasure that it is today.
David Wood hosts this episode, which includes his October 2008 visit with Curator of Puzzles, Jillian Hinchliffe (The Lilly Library’s Puzzling Collection) as well as Megan Meyer’s visit to the Lilly Library in September 2009 (The Lilly Library: Anything But Hands Off). Joel Silver, Curator of Books, talks about Shakespeare’s first folio; Becky Cape, Head of Reference and Public Services, explains why a book might be published in miniature form; and IU English Professor Christoph Irmscher shares his fascination with the primary sources found only in the Lilly Library.
The broadcast also includes David Brent Johnson’s piece on last summer’s exhibition Are We There Yet? The Age of the Automobile.
Listen to the full WFIU Artworks broadcast from January 12, 2010.
William Cagle, director of the Lilly Library from 1975–1997, has begun a review of the collections of the American Library in Paris, under the auspices of the American Library’s Julia Peterson Dede Distinguished Visiting Librarian fund. Read the full announcement of this honor in the September 2009 newsletter of the Library.
January 14, 2010
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.