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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


May 5, 2015

Christoph Irmscher on recovering Birds of America printer

Filed under: Books,Events — Lilly Library @ 3:06 pm

Audubon volume IV-402On the occasion of the first Rare Book School course to be taught at Indiana University, the Lilly Library invites you to a public lecture by IU Provost Professor Christoph Irmscher.

“Recovering Havell: A New Look at Birds of America

While we are used to referring to the magnificent Birds of America (1827-1838) as Audubon’s work, it is really also that of his printer, Robert Havell, Jr. His contribution to the finished product has been marginalized by generations of devoted Audubon admirers. This talk is a first attempt to recover Havell’s impact on individual plates (which ranged from supplying backgrounds to adding in entire specimens) as well as on the work as a whole. One underlying theme of these reflections will be the extent to which an Englishman who had never seen the United States shaped a work usually defined as quintessentially “American.”

Audubon scholar and IU Professor Christoph Irmscher will speak in the Lilly Library Slocum Room at 5:30 pm on May 12. A reception will follow the talk.

A Rare Book School Lecture sponsored by the Friends of the Lilly Library.

April 27, 2015

The Worst Maritime Disaster in U.S. History

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rebecca Baumann @ 2:50 pm

April 27, 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the explosion and subsequent sinking of the steamboat Sultana. Death toll estimates range from 1,700 to 1,800 people, making the wreck of the Sultana one of the worst shipwrecks in American history. The number of lives lost far exceeds the death toll from the sinking of the Titanic, which killed 1,512 people; yet, few have even heard of the Sultana shipwreck.

The passengers aboard the Sultana were former Union soldiers freshly released from Confederate prison camps. The Civil War had ended just 18 days earlier, and these men–weak, malnourished, and suffering from various ailments–were desperate to get back to their families. Steamboat companies were offered $5.00 per soldier and $10.00 per officer for each man transported back to the North. As a result, many companies were eager to load their ships beyond capacity in order to make maximum profit. The Sultana had a legal carrying capacity of 376 passengers, but there were over 2,500 men on board at the time of the wreck.

News coverage of the shipwreck is difficult to find. It occurred at a time when the country was deep in mourning over the loss of President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln’s assassination was still splashed across the front pages of newspapers, along with the progression of his funeral train from Washington D. C. to Springfield, Illinois and coverage of the capture and shooting of John Wilkes Booth. It seemed that the country could handle no more tragedy, and thus, the Sultana shipwreck slipped silently by, nearly unnoticed.

Front cover of Harper's Weekly from May 20, 1865.

Front cover of Harper’s Weekly from May 20, 1865.

However, it was mentioned in a few periodicals. The May 20, 1865 edition of Harper’s Weekly opens with more coverage of Lincoln’s assassination and funeral on the front page, and much of the content within is dedicated to various aspects of the assassination. Finally, 10 pages in, there is an illustration of the Sultana shipwreck. The illustration is interspersed amongst other illustrations, which depict things like Lincoln’s Springfield home, more coverage of his funeral, and of another burning ship in New Orleans. There is no text to go along with the illustration of the Sultana, only a grim picture of a ship engulfed in flames surrounded by hundreds of bodies grasping for safety but finding their hands empty as the icy waters of the Mississippi pulled them down.

Illustration of the Sultana Shipwreck from Harper's Weekly.

Illustration of the Sultana Shipwreck from Harper’s Weekly.

A short article on the wreck was published in the May 6, 1865 Daily Morning Chronicle out of Washington, D. C., 9 days after the wreck occurred. It opens with the assumption that most readers had already encountered reports of the tragic incident elsewhere. The snippet blamed the crash on a “torpedo which, shaped like a lump of coal, was thrown into the furnace with the fuel, and immediately exploded.” However, the real cause of the explosion was a faulty repair to one of the boilers. The repairman explained to the captain that it would be unwise to continue traveling upriver with a damaged boiler, but the captain ignored his warning and pushed north. When the damaged boiler could no longer withstand the pressure of moving against the strong current of the flooded Mississippi, it exploded, taking the other two boilers with it.





The Daily Chronicle. May 6, 1865.

The Daily Chronicle. May 6, 1865.

"The Sultana Disaster." From The Daily Chronicle, May 6, 1865.

“The Sultana Disaster.” From The Daily Chronicle, May 6, 1865.

When the boilers exploded, men were flung from the decks, and many drowned in the icy waters of the flooded river. Others died from the explosion or in the subsequent fire that consumed the ship. Of the 2,500 men on board, only 25 survived, and those that did, owed their lives to the compassion of members of a nearby town, Marion, Arkansas, which had been part of the Confederacy during the war. The Fogelman family and others put together log rafts and paddled out to rescue the remaining 25 men from the burning decks of the Sultana, and former Confederate soldiers pulled men from the frigid water onto the banks. Although the Sultana shipwreck was a horrific incident, the effort of Confederates to rescue Union soldiers from the wreck was the beginning of the reunification of the United States.





For more information, check out this NPR story: The Shipwreck That Led Confederate Veterans To Risk All For Union Lives.

Erika L. Jenns

Graduate Student in English & Library Science


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.


March 23, 2015

Novelist Nicholas Delbanco to Read at The Lilly Library

Filed under: Events — Lilly Library @ 4:02 pm

On April 2, at 5:30 p.m. novelist Nicholas Delbanco will read from his new novel The Years at the Lilly Library on the campus of Indiana University Bloomington. The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Lilly Library, with additional support from the College Arts and Humanities Institute. A reception will follow the event. Called by John Gardener “one of our greatest writers,” Nicholas Delbanco has published over two dozen acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction.

His latest novel, The Years, published by Little A in January 2015, deals with the passage of time, from youth to middle age, from middle age to old. Four decades after their intense but doomed college romance, the novel’s protagonists, Lawrence and Hermia, meet again on Mediterranean cruise, falling more deeply in love now, and wondering whether or not to marry in their sixties. Moving across many years, the first part of the novel reports on their prior, separate lives and the steps toward a new life together. When Lawrence comes to visit Hermia’s home on Cape Cod she has one request: “Please stay.” What happens when he does fills the rest of this heartfelt, unforgettable novel. With enormous sympathy and keen insight, Delbanco follows Hermia and Lawrence through their final years together in Los Angeles and Cape Cod. Old scores are settled; old wounds heal. The Years is a unique book about first and final love, about the irrevocable end of things, and about what endures.

The Friends of Art Bookshop will offer copies of the novel for sale at the reading, and Mr. Delbanco has agreed to sign them.

About the Author:
Nicholas Delbanco is the Robert Frost Distinguished University Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan. His most recent book was The Art of Youth: Crane, Carrington, Gershwin, and the Nature of First Acts (Amazon Publishing/New Harvest), selected by Susan Stamberg for NPR’s Guide to 2013’s Great Reads. The long-term director of the MFA program as well as the Hopwood Awards Program at the University of Michigan, he has served as chair of the fiction panel for the National Book Awards and a judge for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction, received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and, twice, a National Endowment for the Arts Writing Fellowship.

The Years is available for sale at the Friends of Art Bookshop.

Questions? Contact The Lilly Library at (812) 855-2452.


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.


February 2, 2015

Upcoming Lecture Featuring Research from the Papers of Max Eastman

Filed under: Events,Manuscripts — Rebecca Baumann @ 2:14 pm

weston_003Between 1919 and 1921, Margrethe Mather took a series of extraordinary photographs of her friend and lover, the actress Florence Deshon, a woman of extraordinary beauty and intelligence. Signature events in the history of portrait photography, these images played a central role in Deshon’s tempestuous relationship with the poet, editor, and socialist Max Eastman (who, too, was the subject of several iconic Mather photographs). Florence Deshon, who likely killed herself in 1922, is virtually forgotten today. This talk pays tribute to her and to Mather’s photographs, several of which are in the collections of the Lilly Library.

Christoph Irmscher, Provost Professor of English and Director of the Wells Scholars Program, has been working on a biography of Max Eastman, tentatively titled When Love Was Red, which makes extensive use of the Eastman papers at the Lilly Library. His most recent book is Louis Agassiz: Creator of American Science (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013).

When: February 5, 4pm
Where: FA 102
Free and Open to the Public

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.

January 8, 2015

Lilly Library closed to the public today, January 8

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lilly Library @ 12:32 pm

Due to a construction-related water shut-off the Lilly Library is closed to the public today, January 8, 2015.

December 22, 2014

Songs fit for the son of a Prime Minister

Filed under: Books,Music,New acquisitions — Kristin Leaman @ 5:20 pm

In November 1901, Herbert John Gladstone was presented with Universal Harmony, or The Gentleman and Ladie’s Social Companion, a collection of songs printed in London by J. Newbery in 1745. The book is inscribed “From the Directors & Secretary of the Bath Clubs log. To the Right Hon. Herbert J. Gladstone M.P. their Chairman, on the occasion of his marriage with best wishes for long life & happiness November 1901.” One hundred and thirteen years to the month, the same book found its way to the Lilly Library.

Front cover of Universal Harmony, 1745.

Front cover of Universal Harmony, 1745.

Engraved title page.

Engraved title page.

The engraved title page reads Universal Harmony, or, The Gentleman & Ladie’s Social Companion, consisting of a great Variety of the Best & most Favourite English & Scots Songs, Cantatas &c. &c., With a Curious Design, By way of headpiece, Expressive of the sense of each particular Song, All neatly Engraved on quarto Copper Plates, And set to Music for the Voice, Violin, Hautboy, German & Common Flute, with a Thorough Base for the Organ, harpsichord, spinet, &c. By the Best Masters, The whole calculated to keep People in good Spirits, good health, & good humour, to promote Social Friendship in all Companys and Universal Harmony in every Neighborhood.

Herbert Gladstone was the youngest son of Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone. He was a political figure who served as Home Secretary, as well as Governor-General of the Union of South Africa. A dedicated athlete, Gladstone served as the chairman of the Bath Club and the president of the Physical Recreation Society. Perhaps a lesser-known fact is that he was a musician and glee singer, supporting and serving on the council of the Royal College of Music. An 18th century book of songs meant to “keep people in good spirits, good health, & good humour” would have been quite the appropriate wedding gift for Gladstone. Every page is beautifully engraved on copper quarto plates and printed only on the recto side of the page. Many of the pages include an engraved headpiece that represents the song shown beneath it, such as the two plates pictured below.

Plate 49 The Hunting Song in Apollo and Daphne.

Plate 49 The Hunting Song in Apollo and Daphne.

Plate 61 Old Chiron’s Advice to Achilles.

Plate 61 Old Chiron’s Advice to Achilles.

The book is elegantly bound by W. Pratt and contains 129 engraved plates of music, along with an index of songs listed alphabetically. Many of the individuals who set the lyrics to music are listed with the song. Parts for flute are sometimes present, as seen above in The Hunting Song in Apollo and Daphne and below in The Power of Musick and Beauty. The illustrations are filled with little details; the woman in the illustration for The Power of Musick and Beauty is singing from a book of music, while the man and dog are pictured listening attentively. As the lyrics go, “Musick enchants the list’ning Ear, And Beauty charms the Eye.”

Plate 9 The Power of Musick and Beauty.

Plate 9 The Power of Musick and Beauty.

To see the full record for Universal Harmony, visit IUCAT. Call Number: M1613.3.U55 1745

Reference: H. C. G. Matthew, ‘Gladstone, Herbert John, Viscount Gladstone (1854–1930)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Sept 2010 [, accessed 1 Dec 2014]

Photography by Zach Downey.

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

October 23, 2014

Sanctity Pictured: The Art of the Dominican and Franciscan Orders in Renaissance Italy

Filed under: Manuscripts — Cherry Williams @ 2:15 pm

Please visit and enjoy a new exhibition opening Friday, October 31, 2014, at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville Tennessee, Sanctity Pictured: The Art of the Dominican and Franciscan Orders in Renaissance Italy. According to a press release by the Frist, this will be the “first exhibition dedicated to Italian Renaissance art in Nashville since 1934. The exhibition explores the role of two major religious orders in the revival of the arts in Italy during the period 1200 to 1550. It presents drawings, illuminated manuscripts, liturgical objects, paintings, prints , printed books, and sculptures drawn from American and European collections, including works of art from the Vatican Library and the Vatican museums that have never before been exhibited in the United States.”

The Lilly Library is honored to have been included in this exhibition, with three of our medieval manuscripts on display. The exhibition is on-going until January 25, 2015. For additional information please visit the Frist’s website.

Cherry Williams, Curator of Manuscripts




October 9, 2014

Lilly Library and Folger Shakespeare Library link provenance of manuscripts

Filed under: Manuscripts — Kristin Leaman @ 12:43 pm

Making connections with other libraries and their staff is an important and rewarding part of the work we do as librarians and teachers, especially in special collections. These relationships can lead to important discoveries that may bring more understanding to specific materials, which in turn can be shared with a larger audience through digital media.

For example, a series of emails with Heather Wolfe, Curator of Manuscripts at the Folger Shakespeare Library, about the transcription of a Latin abbreviation, led to the realization that both the Lilly Library and the Folger Shakespeare Library possess related Star Chamber dinner accounts. It all began when I attended the Mellon Summer Institute in English Paleography at the Folger, taught by Heather. After many fun and fruitful weeks spent in the Folger, I then ventured back to the Lilly as a newly trained paleographer of secretary hand. In order to keep up on my training, I researched secretary hand manuscripts at the Lilly that I could transcribe. One of my findings were the Star Chamber Dinner Accounts 1591-1594, a collection of two manuscripts that list the food provided for the dinners, the cost, along with the individuals who attended. These dinners took place in the Inner Star Chamber at the end of a day’s work. Wednesday and Friday were the customary Star Chamber days; Fridays were “fishdays.” These dinners occurred during Michaelmas, Hilary, Easter, and Trinity, the four legal terms, and were provided at the public expense. The growing costs of these lavish dinners apparently concerned William Cecil, Lord Burghley, who signed off on these dinners as Lord Treasurer.*

The manuscripts are fascinating, so I took them to my desk and got straight to work. When I came across a Latin abbreviation I did not recognize, I emailed Heather for help. Her response was both helpful and surprising, as she asked if the Lilly copies of the Hilary term dinners looked similar to their copy of the Hilary term dinners from their collection, Expenses of the diet provided for the council in the Star Chamber [manuscript], 1591-1605. After a series of emails and digital images, the shared provenance was confirmed. This discovery was a happy accident, which made me even more appreciative to have been a part of Heather’s paleography class at the Folger.

For more images of the Folger Library and Lilly Library’s copies of the Star Chamber dinner accounts for the Hilary terms and for more information concerning the manuscripts, please visit Heather Wolfe’s blog post on the Collation. I am currently transcribing the Lilly copies, while the Folger will be transcribing their copies as part of their EMMO project. Please contact Kristin Leaman at for digital images of the Lilly copies, or to schedule a time to come in and see the manuscripts.

*Cora L. Scofield, “Accounts of Star Chamber Dinners, 1593-4,” The American Historical Review 5, no. 1 (1899): 83-95

Paper covers for Star Chamber dinners for Hilary Term 1594/95, Lilly Library, Indiana University, TX360.G8 Lilly mss. (photo by Zach Downey and permission of the Lilly Library).

Paper covers for Star Chamber dinners for Hilary Term 1594/95, Lilly Library, Indiana University, TX360.G8 Lilly mss. (photo by Zach Downey and permission of the Lilly Library).

Page from Star Chamber dinners for Hilary Term 1594/95, Lilly Library, Indiana University, TX360.G8 Lilly mss. (photo by Zach Downey and permission of the Lilly Library).

Page from Star Chamber dinners for Hilary Term 1594/95, Lilly Library, Indiana University, TX360.G8 Lilly mss. (photo by Zach Downey and permission of the Lilly Library).

Paper covers for Star Chamber dinners for Hilary Term 1591/2, Folger MS V.b.105 (photo by Heather Wolfe and permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library).

Paper covers for Star Chamber dinners for Hilary Term 1591/2, Folger MS V.b.105 (photo by Heather Wolfe and permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library).

Page from Star Chamber dinners for Hilary Term 1591/2, Folger MS V.b. 105 (photo by Heather Wolfe and permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library).

Page from Star Chamber dinners for Hilary Term 1591/2, Folger MS V.b. 105 (photo by Heather Wolfe and permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library).

September 8, 2014

Special Collections and Primary Sources Consulting Hours in Wells Library Scholars Commons

Filed under: Programs and Services — Rebecca Baumann @ 11:14 am

Would you like to discuss innovative ways to incorporate primary source research into your course curriculum? Are you curious about how primary sources on campus might enhance your own research projects? Would you like to know more about the resources of the Lilly Library?

Staff members from the Public Services Department of the Lilly Library will be available every Tuesday from 1:00-3:00 in Room K of Wells Library’s new Scholars Commons to discuss ways in which you can utilize the Lilly Library’s vast holdings in your own research or in your class and assignment design.  The Lilly Library’s Public Services Department conducts over 300 class sessions a year, and creative assignments arising from these sessions include digital exhibitions, graphic designs inspired by medieval manuscripts and comic books, tweets of recipes from our historical cookbook collection, and many other exciting projects.

Faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates are all welcome.  Of course you can also still contact us by phone (855-2452), email ( or by stopping by the Lilly Library.


August 29, 2014

Calendrier Magique Featured on Slate Vault

Filed under: Books,In the news — Rebecca Baumann @ 1:36 pm

bf1532-c76_00034The Lilly Library’s copy of a rare 19th-century Parisian occult calendar is featured today on’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:

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 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.

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