When was the last time you wrote a letter or received a card in a real mailbox?
Before the Digital Age – and there was such a time – people wrote letters on paper and sent cards to each other. The latest Lilly Collection Spotlight shines on the disappearing art of letter writing, featuring a selection of books and films in which letters or ongoing correspondence play an integral role. Authors include literary and political figures such as Epicurus, Jane Austen, Dr. Martin Luther King, and Samuel Beckett.
The role letter writing plays in film, whether just as a plot device or as narration and explication helped us choose a few films from our collections. Relationships built through intimate correspondence, letters never received, mis-delivered or rediscovered frame many film narratives. Steal a Pencil for Me, Mary and Max, Letters to Juliet and P.S. I Love You are among the films featured.
Accompanying our Collection Spotlight are two exhibit cases featuring artists’ correspondence. Displayed in the lobby case are volumes of Vincent van Gogh’s letters. He was a prolific letter writer whose writings provide insight into his work, his art, and his struggles. Van Gogh often adorned his letters with drawings and sketches. The exhibit case in the foyer highlights letters written by other artists including Georgia O’Keeffe, Albert Eisenstadt, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.
In addition to the Collection Spotlight, browse the nearby interactive exhibit of handwritten notes from Duke Seniors, Class of 2019, to the First-Year members of Duke’s Class of 2022.
Feel free to pull out the notes from the board and read them. There is a bit of advice, personal observations, and even a little bit of wisdom on display!
To celebrate Women’s History Month 2018, Lilly Library is shining a spotlight on Women in Sport. Books and movies that feature women athletes are “teeming” in our collections. Come to East Campus and check out this month’s Lilly Collection Spotlight. Click here for the complete line-up.
While you’re at Lilly, visit the exhibit in the foyer, On the Field, the Courts and Beyond: Women in Sports – TITLE IX, that complements our Lilly Collection Spotlight.
Based on the Instagram account @TheUnsungHeroines, a celebration of the pioneering, forgotten female athletes of the twentieth century that features rarely seen photos and new interviews with past and present game changers including Abby Wambach and Cari Champion.
There’s a battle being fought. It’s raging on the sports fields, in the newsrooms and behind the scenes at every major broadcaster. Women in sport are fighting for equality with more vigour than ever, but are they breaking down the barriers that stand in their way? Sarah Shephard looks behind the headlines to see whether progress is really being made and tells the stories that can no longer be ignored. It’s time for women to switch their focus from the battlefield to the sports field, once and for all.
Beginning with the Williams sisters, the authors examine the foundation of their development as tennis phenoms during the 1990s and the prophetic yet unabashed approach of their coach, father, and sports psychologist, Richard Williams, in crafting a world within which they would be groomed to be successful. a compelling examination of the impact of African Americans on the world of professional tennis and the various challenges and outcomes of that involvement.
An overview of films about women in sport and a timely critical analysis of their role in shaping perceptions of female athletic ability. It examines themes of aggression, beauty, class, ethnicity, physical feminism, sexuality, synaesthesia and technology in relation to mainstream and arthouse cinematic depictions of sportswomen from Pumping Iron 2 to Bend it Like Beckham.
50 years ago when Gibson and Buxton were two of the top women’s tennis players in the world. Coming from widely divergent backgrounds (Gibson from a poor black family in Harlem, Buxton from a well-to-do Jewish family in London), the two hooked up in the mid-1950s and became tennis partners and lifelong friends.
Offers a wide-reaching overview of current academic research on women’s participation in combat sports within a wide range of different national and trans-national contexts, detailing many of the struggles and opportunities experienced by women at various levels of engagement within sports such as boxing, wrestling and mixed martial arts.
During the 2006 Iran-Bahrain match, the Tehran soccer stadium roars with 100,000 cheering men and, officially, no women. According to Islamic custom, women are not permitted to watch or participate in men’s sports. Many of the ambitious young female fans who manage to sneak into the arena are caught and sent to a holding pen, guarded by male soldiers their own age. Duty makes these young men and women adversaries, but duty can’t overcome their shared dreams, their mutual attraction, and ultimately their overriding sense of national pride and humanity.
Examines the post Title IX media environment in terms of the representation of female athletes. It demonstrates that while men’s identities in sports are equated with deeply held values of courage, strength and endurance, the accomplishments of female athletes are framed very differently and in much more stereotypical ways.
A promising hurdler, played by Mariel Hemingway, finds needed emotional and athletic seasoning with a caring mentor. After the two fall in love, their relationship is threatened as both vie for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
Members of the Cuban National Women’s Baseball Team discuss their passion for the sport and hardships they faced in Cuba’s society filled with machismo, prejudice and daily hardships.
The story of the surviving members of the Viennese Hakoah sports club women’s swim team, a world-dominating competitor in the 1930s. The club was eventually shut down during Hitler’s reign, though all the women managed to escape capture. Combines historical footage and contemporary interviews to reconnect the women’s lives and memories.
The new man in town has just accepted a position as an English professor on a reservation in Utah. Finding it hard to fit in with the Native American community, he decides to take on the challenge of coaching the girls’ basketball team.
Bliss Cavender is a small-town teenager looking for her own path. Tired of following in her family’s footsteps, she discovers a way to put her life on the fast track–literally. She lands a spot on a roller derby team and becomes “Babe Ruthless.” Co-starring Drew Barrymore in her feature film directorial debut.
Contributors: Carol Terry, Danette Pachtner and Ira King
Winter Olympics and Sport
Tired of cold wintry weather? Don’t be snowboard – curlup with interesting reading, or peakat these films … what do you have to luge? (Are we skatingon thin ice here?)
If you are ready for vicarious international adventures in spectacular snow and ice, Lilly Library’s collections will transport you. Our latest Collection Spotlight shines on winter sports, Olympic history and snowy landscapes inspired by the upcoming Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Some winning titles are featured below, but judge for yourself and see the full list in Best in Snow.
The Price of Gold (2014, dir. Nanette Burstein) ESPN 30 for 30
The world couldn’t keep its eyes off two athletes at the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer – Nancy Kerrigan, the elegant brunette and Tonya Harding, the feisty blonde who would stop at nothing to get on the Olympic podium.
Sister (2012, dir. Ursula Meir)
A drama set at a Swiss ski resort and centered on a boy who supports his sister by stealing from wealthy guests.
Curling (2010, dir. Denis Côté)
On the fringe of society in a remote part of the French-Canadian countryside, the fragile relationship and unusual private life of a father and daughter is jeopardized by dreary, unforeseen circumstances.
Of Miracles and Men (2009, dir. Jonathan Hock) ESPN 30 for 30
The story of one of the greatest upsets in sports history has been told. Or has it? On a Friday evening in Lake Placid, a plucky band of American collegians stunned the vaunted Soviet national team, 4-3 in the medal round of the 1980 Winter Olympic hockey competition. Americans couldn’t help but believe in miracles that night, and when the members of Team USA won the gold medal two days later, they became one for the ages. But there was another, unchronicled side to the “Miracle On Ice.”
Blades of Glory (2007, dirs. Josh Gordon and Will Speck)
In 2002, two rival Olympic ice skaters were stripped of their gold medals and permanently banned from men’s single competition. Presently, however, they’ve found a loophole that will allow them to qualify as a pairs team.
Cool Runnings (1998, dir. Jon Turteltaub)When a Jamaican sprinter is disqualified from the Olympic Games,he enlists the help of a dishonored coach to start the first Jamaican Bobsled Team.
In the 1930s, as the world hurtled towards terrible global conflict, speed was all the rage. Exotic, exciting and above all dangerous, it was by far the most popular event at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics. It required an abundance of skill and bravery. And the four men who triumphed at those Games lived the most extraordinary lives.
Artistic Impressions: Figure Skating, Masculinity, and the Limits of Sport by Mary Louise Adams
In contemporary North America, figure skating ranks among the most ‘feminine’ of sports and few boys take it up for fear of being labelled effeminate or gay. Yet figure skating was once an exclusively male pastime – women did not skate in significant numbers until the late 1800s, at least a century after the founding of the first skating club. Only in the 1930s did figure skating begin to acquire its feminine image.
Roland Huntford’s brilliant history begins 20,000 years ago in the last ice age on the icy tundra of an unformed earth. Man is a travelling animal, and on these icy slopes skiing began as a means of survival. In polar exploration, skiing changed the course of history. Elsewhere, in war and peace, it has done so too.
So many more books and films examine the Olympics from a range of perspectives – from pure sport and Olympic ideals to international political and social concerns and controversies. Explore further in our Collection Spotlight, and visit Best in Snow.
With the advent of the smartphone and social media platforms like Instagram, photography has suffused our daily lives. You may shoot a pic of the Duke Chapel on the way to an early morning class, take a photo of your lunch at West Union, and get a snapchat vista from your friend on vacation in the mountains. If you’re obsessed with images, we’ve got you covered with this month’s Collection Spotlight at Lilly Library! Check out the wide range of photography books and films on display.
Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs
Adams, whose work was recently featured in an exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Art, was one of the most celebrated landscape photographers of the Twentieth Century, renowned for his black and white depictions of the stunning scenery of the American West. This book collects photographs from across his multi-decade career. Recommended if you’re craving a reminder of the sublime beauty of the outdoors.
Toy Stories by Gabriele Galimberti
In this unique collection, photographer Gabriele Galimberti traveled around the world photographing children and their toys, spending thirty months on the road and visiting fifty-eight different countries. These striking photographs are fun, but also illuminate the social, economic, and gender issues that surround what toys children grow up with. Recommended if you’re missing your childhood room.
The Beautiful Smile by Nan Goldin
This collection, released on the occasion of Goldin’s 2007 Hasselblad Award, features intimate, diaristic photographs and portraits. Rising to fame as a member and chronicler of the LGBTQ subculture in 1980s and 1990s New York City, Goldin includes both photos from that era and newer works in this book. Recommended if you’re looking for photography that captures both the beauty and fragility of life.
Chromes: 1969-1974 by William Eggleston
One of our personal favorite photographers, Eggleston photographed “ordinary” objects and people around the South and his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. Eggleston’s work in color helped legitimize the form in a field that was previously dominated by black and white photography. Recommended if you’re a Big Star fan and/or enjoy photos of old gas stations.
And don’t forget that Lilly has a great collection of films you can borrow.
La Jetee (1962)
Since its release in 1962, Chris Marker’s La Jetée has emerged as one of the foundational texts of postwar European cinema. With its rhythmic editing, nostalgic voiceover and parade of black-and-white images, La Jetée exercises a hypnotic effect on its viewers. This short, experimental ‘photo-roman’ stays with you long after its 29 minutes are over.
John Waters’ film about a budding Baltimore photographer. Pecker (he got the nickname for pecking at his food as a child) photographs the mundane sights of his Baltimore neighborhood: the hamburger joint where he works, rats making love in the alley behind the diner, the oddball characters in his family, and the dancers in the local lesbian strip club.
City of God (2002)
This movie takes place in the favelas or slums of Rio de Janeiro created to isolate the poor people from the city center. They have grown into places teeming with life, color, music and excitement–and with danger. One of the characters, Rocket, obtains a stolen camera that he treasures and takes pictures from his privileged position as a kid on the streets.
Through a lens darkly: black photographers and the emergence of a people (2014)
Filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris offers what he calls a “family memoir” via historical images of African Americans initially through popular and disturbing stereotypes such as those portrayed in D.W. Griffith’s classic 1915 film Birth of a Nation to more realistic and poignant photographs. Using a series of narrative images by African American photographic artists including Anthony Barboza, Hank Willis Thomas, Lorna Simpson, and Gordon Parks, among others, Harris sheds light on a seldom-told aspect of our culture.
As you can see, Lilly Library offers a wide range of books and film about the art, science and history of photography which we hope you will enjoy.
Cuban-Americans, the Duke Common Experience and Beyond
Need some new reading material or just interested in seeing what’s in Lilly Library’s collection that you might not know about? Check out Lilly’s Collection Spotlight!
In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month and the Duke Common Experience Reading Program selection of Richard Blanco’s The Prince of Los Cocuyos, our spotlight shines on books and films relevant to his and the Cuban-American experience. Blanco, the inaugural poet for Barack Obama in 2012, writes in his memoir of his childhood growing up in Miami as a son of Cuban immigrants. The memoir finds Blanco grappling with both his place in America and his sexuality, striving to discover his identity.
Our collections include books on Cuban Art, the Cuban-American immigrant experience in the United States, LGBTQ communities in Hispanic culture, and several books of Blanco’s poetry. Here are a few highlights from our Lilly Collection Spotlight:
Adios Utopia — Art in Cuba Since 1950
This exhibition catalog covers Cuban art from 1950 to the present viewed through the particular lenses of the Cuban Revolution, utopian ideals, and subsequent Cuban history. The collection covered in this book will be on display at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis starting in November.
In this book, scholar Frederick Luis Aldama interviews 29 Latinx comic book creators, ranging from the legendary Jaime Hernandez of Love and Rockets fame to lesser known up and coming writers/illustrators.
This bilingual chapbook contains a poem Blanco wrote and read for the reopening of the US Embassy in Havana in 2015. Blanco writes in the opening lines, “The sea doesn’t matter, what matters is this: we all belong to the sea between us, all of us.”
CubAmerican (2012) DVD 28418
Exploring the causes leading to the exile of millions of Cubans from communist Cuba by depicting the journey of illustrious Cuban-Americans to their new life in the United States
Finally the sea (2007) DVD 12185
“The wreckage of an empty Cuban raft is the catalyst for Tony, a successful Cuban-American businessman, who files from Wall Street to Cuba to discover his roots. His journey develops into a striking love story where politics and romance collide
Mambo Kings (1992) DVD 27116
Musician brothers, Cesar and Nestor, leave Cuba for America (NYC) in the 1950s, with the hopes of making it to the top of the Latin music scene. Cesar is the older brother who serves as the business manager and is a consummate ladies’ man. Nestor is the brooding songwriter, who cannot forget the woman in Cuba who broke his heart. This is an unrated version of the film, with one restored scene.
Visit our Collection Spotlight shelf, in the lobby to the left of the Lilly desk. There are many more titles available to you, and if you want more suggestions – just ask us. Stay tuned – We will highlight our diverse and varied holdings at Lilly with a different theme each month.
The treasures of Duke’s branch libraries are often hidden. The circulating collections and services of these smaller libraries often claim the pride of place. Both libraries on East Campus, Lilly Library and Music Library, however, hold precious material relating to their subject collections. Known in the library world as “medium rare” (as opposed to the rare materials located in the David M. Rubenstein Library) such primary source materials allow students to examine history first hand.
This fall the Lilly Library added a lobby display case to highlight its unique collections. The inaugural display is one volume of our three-volume Vitruvius Britannicus, a large and early folio devoted to the great buildings of England to be seen in 1717.
An outstanding example of a folio (book) format as well as the awakening of interest in British architecture by its own architects – quoting from the Oxford Art Online – Vitruvius Britannicus was a cooperative venture that appears to have developed out of the desire of a group of booksellers to capitalize on an already established taste for topographical illustration.
Published in 1715 and 1717, the two original volumes each consisted of 100 large folio plates of plans, elevations and sections chiefly illustrating contemporary secular buildings. Many of these plates provided lavish illustration of the best-known houses of the day, such as Chatsworth, Derbys, or Blenheim Palace, Oxon, intended to appeal to the widespread desire for prints of such buildings as well as providing their architects a chance to publicize their current work.
We invite you to visit the Lilly Library on East Campus and to enjoy this “medium rare” folio on exhibit. For more information about the Lilly Library folio or art and image collections, contact Lee Sorensen, the Librarian for Visual Studies.
Date: Monday, October 29, 2012 Time: 5:00 p.m. Location: Rare Book Room, Rubenstein Library, Duke West Campus (Map) Contact: Aaron Welborn, firstname.lastname@example.org, 919-660-5816
Men and women 150 years ago grappled with information overload by making scrapbooks — the ancestors of Google and blogging. From Mark Twain to Susan B. Anthony, abolitionists to Confederates, African American janitors to farmwomen, people cut out and pasted down their reading.
Ellen Gruber Garvey, author of Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance (Oxford, 2012) opens a new window into the feelings and thoughts of ordinary and extraordinary Americans. Her groundbreaking book reveals a previously unexplored layer of American popular culture. “Scrapbooks are a democratic archive,” says Garvey. “They tell us what the 99 percent of the past read and cared about.”
Garvey is Professor of English at New Jersey City University. Her talk is titled “Strategic Scrapbooks: Nineteenth-Century Activists Remake the Newspaper for African American History and Women’s Rights.” The talk will also include a display of historical scrapbooks from the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, which Garvey consulted in the writing of her book.
Free and open to the public. A reception with refreshments will follow the program.
Copies of the book will be available for sale.
News, Events, and Exhibits from Duke University Libraries