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 22, 2013
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, 812-855-2452 and at the Friends of Art Bookshop, email@example.com, 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.
December 3, 2009
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
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
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.
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:
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 http://www.libraries.iub.edu/index.php?pageId=8537.
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, Amazon.com, 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
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
Brother Can You Spare a Dime: Popular Music from the Great Depression
Thursday, October 29 5:00pm
Slocum Room, Lilly Library