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Indiana University Bloomington

October 6, 2010

Lilly Library announces publication

Filed under: Books,Exhibitions,Illustration,In the news,Manuscripts — Lilly Library @ 4:44 pm

Gilding the Lilly book coverThe 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,, 812-855-2452 and at the Friends of Art Bookshop,, 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.

View more images

August 19, 2010

Bloomington, Lilly Library in Washington Post

Filed under: In the news — Virginia Dearborn @ 3:41 pm

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.

Read the full article

April 28, 2010

Dr. Rosenbach and Mr. Lilly

Filed under: Books,In the news — Lilly Library @ 1:45 pm

Dr. Rosenbach and Mr. Lilly_cover_small

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.

View more images and ordering information.

April 23, 2010

Elizabeth L. Johnson receives 2010 Jenkins Librarian Award

Filed under: In the news — Lilly Library @ 3:01 pm

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

Lilly Library announces publication of Lilly Texana

Filed under: Books,In the news — Lilly Library @ 12:57 pm

Lilly Texana

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

February 17, 2010

A Pencil or a Meat Cleaver: Raymond Carver and His Editors, on March 31

Filed under: Books,Events,In the news,Manuscripts — Lilly Library @ 9:59 am

Raymond Carver book cover

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

Artworks on WFIU features the Lilly Library

Filed under: In the news,Lilly Library building — Virginia Dearborn @ 4:09 pm

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.

News from former Director William Cagle

Filed under: In the news — Lilly Library @ 3:21 pm

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

WFHB Interviews Curator of Manuscripts

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

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

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

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

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

You can listen to the entire WFHB interview with Cherry Williams online, or download it, at

December 3, 2009

Education Reformer Deborah Meier Visits the Lilly Library

Filed under: In the news,Manuscripts — Guest Blogger @ 4:05 pm


Deborah Meier, a leader in education reform and the founder of the modern small schools movement in America, paid a welcome visit to the Lilly Library on Thursday, November 12. Meier, who was visiting Bloomington for an education seminar, is nationally known for her work in the innovative Central Park East schools in New York, which she founded in 1974. Meier’s efforts were recognized in 1987, when she became the first public school teacher to receive a MacArthur Fellowship. She chronicled her experiences at Central Park East in The Power of Their Ideas (1995), which has become an influential work in the field of education.

Indiana University announced in November 2008 that Deborah Meier had donated her papers to the Lilly Library, and work on them began in June of this year. The papers include correspondence, writings and speeches by Meier, and materials related to Meier’s work with the Central Park East schools, the Mission Hill school in Boston, and school restructuring projects in New York City, among other things.

The Lilly Library has created a two–year, grant–funded position devoted to the arrangement, description, and digitization of this collection. Currently, the papers are in the process of being arranged and a finding aid is being created. Once the finding aid is complete, portions of the collection will be scanned and made available online, giving researchers all over the world access to this unique documentation of the beginnings of the small schools movement.

Meier and Steve Bonchek of the Harmony Education Center, a Bloomington school and education institute which assisted in procuring the funding needed to make this collection available, hope that the Meier papers will serve as the cornerstone of an ongoing effort to document schools. The Lilly Library is grateful to the Peck Stacpoole Foundation of New York, and to the Office of the Provost of IU Bloomington, for providing the financial support for this project.

–Valerie Higgins, Meier Papers Project Archivist

Accompanying picture, from left to right: Gerardo Gonzalez, Dean of the IU School of Education; Valerie Higgins, Meier Papers Project Archivist; Deborah Meier; John Ryan, IU President Emeritus; Steve Bonchek, Harmony Education Center Executive Director. Click here to see a larger image.

November 24, 2009

On the Origin of Species

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

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

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

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

November 13, 2009

On Air with the Lilly Library

Filed under: In the news,Lilly Library building — Virginia Dearborn @ 4:09 pm

Megan Meyer of Indiana Public Media visited the Lilly Library earlier this fall for an interview with Joel Silver and Becky Cape (among others). Her interview, The Lilly Library: Anything But Hands Off, was broadcast on WFIU on September 15, 2009 and rebroadcast more recently, but if you missed it, you can listen to a podcast of it or read the transcript here.

Lilly Library Blog Round Up

Filed under: In the news — Erika Dowell @ 2:15 pm

Items related to the Lilly Library have popped up on a number of blogs in recent months. Here are three that may be of interest:

Blog Squad

The IU Libraries “Blog Squad” is a group of five students who blog about the IU Libraries. Each student is paired with a librarian who helps them learn about the libraries and how the libraries can contribute to the student’s academic success. Librarian David Oldenkamp sent squad member Joey on a visit to the Lilly Library. Read about it on Joey’s blog.

To read more about the Blog Squad, visit

Persian playing cards

The IU Libraries Preservation Lab blogged about treating a collection of Persian playing cards from the Lilly Library.

The collection consists of 8–10 different sets of Persian playing cards ranging in date from ca. 1850–ca. 1950. More information about the cards is available in the library catalog.

Late age of print

IU Professor Ted Striphas new book, The Late Age of Print, focuses on contemporary book culture with attention to “e–books, book superstores, online bookselling,, and Harry Potter.” He shot a promotional video for his book at the Lilly Library during the 2009 spring semester. You can see glimpses of the Remembering Lincoln exhibition as Striphas strolls through most of the Lilly Library’s public spaces. I haven’t read the book (yet) but it is getting good reviews. Richard Nash describes it as a “must–read” for “those interested in the confluence of culture and economics as it relates to books.”

Watch the video and read about Striphas’s experience making it on The Late Age of Print blog.

– Erika Dowell, Public Services Librarian

October 20, 2009

Brother Can You Spare a Dime: Popular Music from the Great Depression

Filed under: Events,In the news,Music — Guest Blogger @ 4:25 pm

Sheet music

As a part of IU Libraries’ celebration of Archives and Special Collections Month, the Lilly Library will host a performance of selections from the Starr Sheet Music Collection and Sam DeVincent Collection of American Sheet Music.

Last year’s presentation showcased Presidential Campaign songs; this year’s theme (as the title states) is songs of the Great Depression.

The show will occur on the 80th anniversary of the actual stock market crash of October 29, 1929 (Black Tuesday). Come out and hear Christopher Goodbeer, Alicia McCarthur, Thea Smith (singers), and Yonit Kosovske (pianist) perform these sometimes mournful but mostly optimistic songs.

Selections include the title song, “Brother Can You Spare a Dime,” “We’re in the Money,” “On the Good Ship Lollipop,” “Hallelujah I’m a Bum,” and others. A reception follows.

–Christopher Goodbeer, IU Jacobs School of Music student

Event Details
Brother Can You Spare a Dime: Popular Music from the Great Depression
Thursday, October 29 5:00pm
Slocum Room, Lilly Library

October 14, 2009

New furniture in the Reading Room

Filed under: In the news,Lilly Library building — Virginia Dearborn @ 1:40 pm

Reading Room 00073

The new furniture for the Lilly Library Reading Room arrived last week, so now the room is not only beautifully renovated but also well–appointed!

As always, the Reading Room of the Lilly Library is open to anyone wishing to use the library’s resources, and the staff are available to answer questions relating to the collections.

–Virginia Dearborn, Reference/Technical Assistant

View more images of the Reading Room.

October 8, 2009

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

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


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

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

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

–Virginia Dearborn, Reference/Technical Assistant

September 11, 2009

Reading Room renovation update

Filed under: In the news,Lilly Library building — Virginia Dearborn @ 4:50 pm

Reading Room 00051

The bulk of the renovation of the Lilly Library Reading Room has been completed!

We’re all happy to be out of the lovely but tight quarters of the Elisabeth Ball Room (which served as a temporary reading room over the summer) and into the sunlit and roomy “new” space. The new furniture is not due to arrive until next month, but there is temporary furniture in place to accommodate readers and staff.

–Virginia Dearborn, Reference/Technical Assistant

View more images of the renovation.

June 25, 2009

Reading Room renovation week 6

Filed under: In the news,Lilly Library building — Erika Dowell @ 2:16 pm

Lilly Library Reading Room, June 18, 2009

Electrical work may be more complicated, but for now its impact is still hidden. But paint! Now there is a visible taste of what the renovated Reading Room will look like! These two photographs from last week show the ceiling being transformed from dull green to crisp white and blue.

— Erika Dowell, Public Services Librarian

Lilly Library Reading Room, June 18, 2009

May 22, 2009

Reading Room renovation week 1

Filed under: In the news,Lilly Library building — Erika Dowell @ 3:37 pm

Temporary reading room in the Ball Room

The Library’s temporary reading room, set up in the Elisabeth Ball Room, is running smoothly this week. This room is arranged to accommodate up to four readers, and we have had a full house at times. In the top photo you can see graduate student employee Trevor Winn silhouetted against the window and one researcher at a table. Sir Thomas Lawrence’s portrait of the Irish poet Thomas Moore surveys the scene from above the fireplace.

Library staff have also been displaced during the renovation. Head of Reference and Public Services Rebecca Cape is camped out in the Byrd Room (the Public Services staff room) since her office is accessed through the Reading Room, and all employees are using a different entrance to staff areas of the Lilly Library, passing through the Lilly Room (home to me and Cherry Williams, Curator of Manuscripts) instead of the usual path through the Reading Room.

Reading Room renovation week 1

Renovation work kicked into high gear right away this first week of the project. Crews scrubbed the limestone window frames, removed carpet and padding, set up scaffolding, and started work on replacing light fixtures. In the bottom photo you can see holes in the ceiling where light fixtures have been removed. It is exciting to see things get moving so quickly!

— Erika Dowell, Public Services Librarian

May 13, 2009

Preparing for renovation of the Reading Room

Filed under: In the news — Erika Dowell @ 3:39 pm

Lilly Library Reading Room, May 12, 2009

The Lilly Library Reading Room looks pretty forlorn this week, but it is just the first step in a remodeling project that will take all summer to complete. The project includes new paint, carpeting, window coverings, and furniture, as well as new built-in shelving and workspace beneath the windows. New lighting will brighten the space, and new electrical outlets will make plugging in your laptop easier, with no nasty surge protectors sprouting from the room’s perimeter.

This week there are no reader services at the Lilly Library, but next week we will open up a temporary Reading Room in the Elisabeth Ball Room. (Check back for pictures next week.) Library staff have moved a lot of furniture this week. The Ball Room furniture had to be relocated to make room for the temporary Reading Room furniture, consisting of chairs and smaller tables from the original Reading Room. Most of the furniture in the picture is destined to leave the Lilly Library completely. Staff have also moved many, many books and card catalog cabinets and drawers. All are safe in their new temporary homes in several locations in the Lilly Library.

If you want to use the temporary Reading Room this summer, remember to make an appointment by emailing or calling 812-855-2452. We will try to accommodate drop-in visitors, but those with appointments have first priority.

Keep an eye on this blog and the Lilly Library Facebook page for more pictures and information about the progress of the Reading Room renovation.

— Erika Dowell, Public Services Librarian

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