Tag Archives: 2013acquisition

WaldenTitlePage

‘Tis the Season: Gifts to the Rubenstein Library, Day Five

To celebrate the holiday season this week, we’re highlighting a few of the many wonderful books that the Rubenstein Library has received as gifts over the past year.  We are truly grateful for the generosity of our donors.  A hearty “Happy holidays” and thanks and to all of those who have contributed to making 2013 a wonderful year for the Rubenstein Library!

A beautiful copy of one of the pinnacles of American literature, the 1854 first edition of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden; or, Life in the Woods, has been donated to the Rubenstein Library by Professor Leland Phelps.

WaldenTitlePage

Thoreau’s genre-bending record of his experiment in simple living in the forest by Walden Pond has been an WaldenSpineCoverimportant influence and inspiration for literary scholars, naturalists, environmentalist, philosophers, economists, and many others for over 150 years.  While it was immediately recognized as an important work by many of Thoreau’s transcendentalist contemporaries, such as his friend (and owner of the land on which Thoreau  Ralph Waldo Emerson, the 2000 copies printed for the first edition took almost five years to sell.

The copy donated by Professor Phelps to Duke was formerly owned by Professor Frederick Whiley Hilles and is in excellent condition, with its original binding and remarkably bright pages.  Thanks to this gift, students and scholars at Duke will have the opportunity to experience this iconic text in its original form, nearly as it would have been encountered in 1854, fresh from the press.

Walden is one of the highlights of a large donation by Professor Phelps this year, which also includes other editions of nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature such as a remarkable collection of William Faulkner’s works (including many first editions), and many important books in art and architecture.  We are honored by his support of the Rubenstein Library and thankful for his remarkable donation!

MunchenerBilderbogenStallmeister

‘Tis the Season: Gifts to the Rubenstein Library, Day Four

To celebrate the holiday season this week, we’re highlighting a few of the many wonderful books that the Rubenstein Library has received as gifts over the past year.  We are truly grateful for the generosity of our donors.  A hearty “Happy holidays” and thanks and to all of those who have contributed to making 2013 a wonderful year for the Rubenstein Library!

The Münchener Bilderbogen are a famous series of illustrated broadsides produced in Munich for over fifty years, from 1848 into the first decade of the twentieth century.  Important documents in the development of comic strips and cartooning, and quite influential in Europe’s visual culture in the nineteenth century, the Bilderbogen were created by German artists, illustrators, and writers such as Wilhelm Busch, Lothar Meggendorfer, and Adolf Oberlander.

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“Der Stallmeister und sein Pferd” (“The Stableman and His Horse”), Munchener Bilderbogen no. 1014, ca. 1886.

Seventeen bound volumes of the Bilderbogen were donated this year to the Rubenstein Library by Christine L. Shore in honor of her mother Ottilie Tusler Lowenbach.

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“Vom Osterhasen” (“The Easter Bunny”), Munchener Bilderbogen no. 1015, ca. 1886.

This generous gift complements existing Rubenstein Library holdings related to caricature and cartoons, and our comic book collections.  Our thanks to Christine Shore!

Frontispiece of Holy Bible, with circular photographic onlay.

‘Tis the Season: Gifts to the Rubenstein Library, Day Three

Frontispiece of Holy Bible, with circular photographic onlay.
Frontispiece of Holy Bible, with circular photographic onlay.

To celebrate the holiday season this week, we’re highlighting a few of the many wonderful books that the Rubenstein Library has received as gifts over the past year.  We are truly grateful for the generosity of our donors.  A hearty “Happy holidays” and thanks and to all of those who have contributed to making 2013 a wonderful year for the Rubenstein Library!

Funds donated to the Rubenstein Library in 2013 facilitated the purchase of two very different books featuring photographs.  One, the Holy Bible published by Eyre and Spottiswoode in 1865, features twenty mounted photographs by Francis Frith.  Frith, an Englishman, was a pioneering photographer of the Middle East in the 1850s, and some of the early photographic views of Holy Land sites such as Bethlehem and Jerusalem are included in this Bible.  This purchase was made possible by the addition of funds to the Leland Phelps Rare Book Endowment Fund.

"Bethlehem with Church of the Nativity," by Francis Frith, from Holy Bible.
“Bethlehem with Church of the Nativity,” by Francis Frith, from Holy Bible, 1865.

A generous donation of funds for materials related to military history facilitated the acquisition of Lee and Amy Pirkle’s work A Real Fighting Man.  Published in an edition of twenty copies in 2012, A Real Fighting Man is an artist’s book that combines art based on snapshots sent home by Lee Pirkle (Amy’s grandfather) from the Korean War with text chosen by Amy from an essay that Lee wrote about his wartime experience.

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Lee and Amy Pirkle, A Real Fighting Man. Image courtesy of Vamp & Tramp Booksellers.

A Real Fighting Man‘s flag book structure, as seen above, allows the reader to juxtapose sections of image and text in many revealing ways.

MagnaChartaMarginalia

‘Tis the Season: Gifts to the Rubenstein Library, Day Two

MagnaChartaBindingTo celebrate the holiday season this week, we’re highlighting a few of the many wonderful books that the Rubenstein Library has received as gifts over the past year.  We are truly grateful for the generosity of our donors.  A hearty “Happy holidays” and thanks and to all of those who have contributed to making 2013 a wonderful year for the Rubenstein Library!

Richard Heitzenrater, William Kellon Quick Professor Emeritus of Church History and Wesley Studies in Duke’s Divinity School, donated a number of books in the fields of law, religion, and literature to the Rubenstein Library this year.  Among them is an early printing of the Magna Carta and other laws of England, Magna Charta cum Statutis tum Antiquis tum Recentibus, published in 1587 by Richard Tottell, the foremost printer and bookseller of law books in Elizabethan London.

A rare and important book in any condition, the copy donated by Prof. Heitzenrater is particularly notable for its unusual format: the paper is much larger than in typical copies of the book, and the printing confined to one upper corner of each page, as seen on the title page below.

MagnaChartaTitlePageThis format allowed for very large margins in which those in the legal professions could record their notes and cite additional or updated statutes.  Indeed, this copy contains many early (probably seventeenth-century) handwritten notes and citations throughout the text.

MagnaChartaMarginaliaOur thanks to Prof. Heitzenrater for this important document of the Elizabethan era!

OBrienDJ

‘Tis the Season: Gifts to the Rubenstein Library, Day One

OBrienDJTo celebrate the holiday season this week, we’re highlighting a few of the many wonderful books that the Rubenstein Library has received as gifts over the past year.  We are truly grateful for the generosity of our donors.  A hearty “Happy holidays” and thanks and to all of those who have contributed to making 2013 a wonderful year for the Rubenstein Library!

A donation from Duke Professor of French Studies Helen Solterer features rare and iconic works of Irish and American literature.  These volumes came from the library of Elizabeth Solterer, whose father, Constantine Curran, was a friend of James Joyce, W. B. Yeats, and other important figures in twentieth-century Irish literature.

The donation includes a very rare first edition, first printing of At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brien (the pseudonym of Brian O’Nolan).  The book’s publication was poorly timed, appearing a few months before Great Britain declared war on Germany in 1939.  Only 240 or so copies were sold before most of the unsold stock was destroyed in a London bombing raid by the German Luftwaffe in 1940.  Its reputation as a groundbreaking and hilarious work of comedic metafiction has grown from a small cult following, and it now features regularly in lists of best English-language novels and novels of the twentieth century.  Copies of the edition printed before World War II are exceptionally rare, especially in the original dust jacket, present on the copy now at the Rubenstein Library.

Another highlight of the donation is a 1934 edition of the Collected Poems of William Butler Yeats featuring two handwritten lines of his poem “Into the Twilight” and his signature, dated to December 1935.

YeatsInscriptionOther books in the donation include signed works by Robert Frost and Henry James.  We thank Prof. Solterer for this marvelous donation!

elsie john back web

New Acquisitions: A Gender and Sexuality Side Show with Beat Connections

The Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture recently acquired a rare ephemeral promotional pamphlet, possibly published in Chicago in the 1930’s, European Enigma, International Sensation: Elsie-John, Half Man, Half Woman: Brother and Sister in One Body: Widely Imitated, Never Successfully Duplicated.  The pamphlet promotes a German-born “hermaphrodite” performer, also known as a “half-and-half” in the parlance of the side show or “freak” show trade because of the custom of presenting one of half of the body with attributes of a typical male and the other half female.

elsie john back web

Beginning as a popular pastime in seventeenth-century Europe, freak shows featured performances intended to shock viewers such as exhibitions of biological rarities or heavily tattooed or pierced people, as well as extreme activities like fire-eating and sword-swallowing. Performers could be physically unusual humans such as those uncommonly large or small, those with both male and female secondary sexual characteristics, and people with other extraordinary diseases and conditions. As attitudes changed about physical differences and previously mysterious anomalies were scientifically explained, laws were passed restricting the freak show resulting in a decline in this form of entertainment.

The pamphlet includes six halftone views of Elsie-John as a man and as a woman as well as an autobiographical sketch. Elsie John, a performer in Chicago in the 1930s and 1940s, was connected to the Beat Generation of writers. The poet Herbert Huncke (1915-1996), who appears as a thinly-veiled character in both William S. Burroughs’ 1953 novel Junkie and Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, and was by some accounts the source of the term “Beat,” wrote that he had been taken at an early age under the wing of Elsie John, who appears to have introduced Huncke both to heroin and to the gay underground of 1930s Chicago. Huncke’s short memoir “Elsie John” is an unsentimental but affectionate sketch of the performer.

Post contributed by Laura Micham, Merle Hoffman Director, Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture and Curator, Gender and Sexuality History Collections.

StCatherine1500blog

New Acquisitions: Scenes from the Life of St. Catherine

In June and July we’re celebrating the beginning of a new fiscal year by highlighting new acquisitions from the past year. All of these amazing resources will be available for today’s scholars, and for future generations of researchers in the Rubenstein Library!  Today’s post features a remarkable addition to the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture. Check out additional posts in the series here.

The Library has acquired a rare incunable (item printed from moveable type in Europe before 1501), the Legenda de Vita S. Catharinae by Frater Petrus, published in Strasbourg on April 6, 1500.  It tells the story of St. Catherine of Binding of Legenda Vita de s. Catharinae, Strasbourg, 1500Alexandria, one of the most popular and important saints in late medieval Europe, and an enduring icon of women’s learning.  She was said to have won a debate with the Roman emperor’s elite philosophers over the value of Christianity, leading to her imprisonment and torture on the breaking wheel, now often called the Catherine wheel.

This edition includes seventeen beautiful woodcuts attributed to the artist known as the “Master of Terence,” who worked frequently for the book’s publisher, Johann Grüninger. The copy now in the Rubenstein Library, just the third known copy in an American institution, also features a contemporary binding with elaborate tooling and a brass clasp, and extensive rubrication both in the text and bordering the woodcuts.  It will reward a variety of research approaches, from literary scholars interested in book history and the popular medieval genre of saints’ lives to those working in women’s history, religious history, and art history.

CorreaWarWorlds1

New Acquisitions: Tarzan, Batman, and Alien Invaders, En Français

CorreaWarWorlds1In June and July we’re celebrating the beginning of a new fiscal year by highlighting new acquisitions from the past year. All of these amazing resources will be available for today’s scholars, and for future generations of researchers in the Rubenstein Library! Today’s post features new items in the Library’s Negley Collection of Utopian Literature and its comic book collections. Check out additional posts in the series here.

One of the most influential books in science fiction history, H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds, was an immediate sensation upon its publication in 1898.  Famously adapted for radio, film, and television, the work received perhaps its most beautiful visual interpretation in the limited edition of Henry Davray’s French translation, La Guerre des Mondes, published in Brussels in 1906 with stunning illustrations by Henrique Alvim Corrêa.

The book features 32 plates as well as over 100 illustrations within the text.  Corrêa, a Brazilian painter and illustrator who lived in Belgium for most of his life, captured the intensity, grand scope, and wonder of Wells’s vision of interplanetary invasion in his atmospheric, energetic compositions.

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tarzan1Another new acquisition demonstrates, in a different format, the burgeoning global appeal of genre fiction adapted to visual form in the twentieth century.  A complete run of 293 issues of Tarzan, a comics series published in Paris between 1946 and 1952, features the adventures of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s famous creation in vivid color.

The first 71 issues also feature a French adaptation of the newspaper comic strip featuring Batman, La Chauve-Souris (The Bat), by the famous French science fiction illustrator, René Brantonne.   These American adaptations ran alongside comics adaptations of French classics such as Les Miserables.

The Rubenstein Library now holds the only known copy of this periodical in the United States, which appears to be very rare in institutional holdings even in France.

A French adventure of Batman and Robin. dressed as Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette.
A French adventure of Batman and Robin. dressed as Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette.

 

New Acquisitions: Unique Depictions of the Human Body

In June and July we’re celebrating the beginning of a new fiscal year by highlighting new acquisitions from the past year. All of these amazing resources will be available for today’s scholars, and for future generations of researchers in the Rubenstein Library! Today’s post features a new collection in the Library’s History of Medicine Collections. Check out additional posts in the series here.

fugitive sheet female

The History of Medicine Collections has acquired two anatomical fugitive sheets, elevating our holdings to now include ten of these magnificent items. Anatomical fugitive sheets are single sheets, similar to broadsides, that are printed on one side. Illustrations of the human body accompany text that was written in Latin, and later in the vernacular. Dating from the sixteenth century, this pair of fugitive sheets, titled Viscerum hoc Est Interiorum Corporis Humani Partium Descriptio and published in Antwerp in the sixteenth century, includes hand colored illustrations with accompanying text in Latin.

Besides being incredibly rare—these are the only known copies of these sheets—the sheets are noteworthy for many reasons, including the depiction of the human body using three-dimensional flaps that lift to reveal internal organs, as the title suggests.  This particular pair of fugitive sheets has lost most of its flaps. While the male figure only retains a fragment of one flap, the female figure retains one full flap of the inner organs in entirety. Such loss is common since most of these fugitive sheets date to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and were printed as single sheets.

Theories abound as to who would own such items. Were they created for physicians, barber surgeons, or the lay person wanting to know more about the human body? Were they hung in apothecaries, medical university classrooms, or the gentleman’s library? Any sheets that remain today are incredibly rare and worthy of study and analysis. These appeal not only to the medical student who wants to see what inaccuracies exist, but to those interested in the history of science, printing history, and art history.

Post contributed by Rachel Ingold, Curator, History of Medicine Collections.

Auca for a Barcelona bookstore, 1937.

New Acquisitions: Advertising Aucas

Auca for a Barcelona bookstore, 1937.
Auca for a Barcelona bookstore, 1937.

In June and July we’re celebrating the beginning of a new fiscal year by highlighting new acquisitions from the past year. All of these amazing resources will be available for today’s scholars, and for future generations of researchers in the Rubenstein Library! Today’s post features a new collection in the Library’s Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising, and Marketing History. Check out additional posts in the series here.

Since being banned as a tool for gambling in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the auca has become one of the cultural touchstones of the Catalonia region of Spain.  Aucas are a kind of comic strip with a standardized format of panels (often 48, or another multiple of four) accompanied by rhyming verse.  The Hartman Center recently acquired a collection of more than fifty of these original broadsides, all produced and distributed for the purposes of advertising products or communicating a service. Aucas were traditionally used for communication of religious, literary, or civic information, but advertisers saw the value in taking the broadside format and using it for commercial purposes.

Auca for an insecticide containing D.D.T., Tarragona, ca. 1960.
Auca for an insecticide containing D.D.T., Tarragona, ca. 1960.

The numerous examples here of aucas published in Barcelona or nearby cities in the Catalan language during the 1940s and 1950s, run counter to the accepted belief that the Franco regime had completely suppressed the Catalan language. As these aucas show, the language still had a public presence (and perhaps the Regime tolerated its use in this particular fashion because the aucas were intended to generate commerce, which Spain desperately needed).