Audubons on the move

One of the last (but not least!) collections to move during our Big Move was our set of John James Audubon’s Birds of America. The Rubenstein Library is fortunate to have a complete double elephant folio set, published between 1827 and 1838. Only 120 sets are known to exist. Our conservation staff was on hand yesterday as the movers carefully lifted and transported the very heavy Audubons to their temporary home. We’re looking forward to them being back on display after the renovation.

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Birds of America folios in their cases in the Rare Book Room.
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Safely storing the Birds of America until after the renovation.

Can’t wait until after the renovation to see these great books? The University of Pittsburgh has digitized them.

Week 5 is Done!

We have rounded the final turn and are in the homestretch of our collections move!  Consequently, we’re seeing a lot more of this:

Empty shelving in our former stacks.
Empty shelving in our former stacks.

And of this:

Folio volumes from the History of Medicine Collections, in their new shelf locations.
Folio volumes from the History of Medicine Collections, in their new shelf locations.

And a lot less of these!

Trays used to move and store our books. The need to put more and more of them together: almost gone!
Trays used to move and store our books. The need to put more and more of them together: almost gone!

Standing Up (and Kneeling) for Our Collections

It’s week five of our collections move, and the Rubenstein is a flurry of activity.  We won’t sit down until all of our collections are moved!

Joshua Larkin Rowley and Noah Huffman: too busy checking materials into our new stacks to find a chair.
Joshua Larkin Rowley and Noah Huffman, too busy checking materials into our new stacks to find a chair.

 

The oversize items in our flat files may lie down, but we won't rest yet.
The oversize items in our flat files may lie down, but we won’t rest yet.

 

We'll all be ready for a futon (but not the book variety pictured here) when the move is completed.
We’ll all be ready for a futon (but not the book variety pictured here) when the move is completed.

 

“Let Their Names Go Down in the World”

While researching a reference request among the William Mahone Papers, an interesting piece of ephemera was discovered that gives us a peek at the opinions of one African American politician regarding the lingering shadows of the Confederacy almost 15 years after the Civil War ended. On December 20, 1879, a letter was sent to Mahone, who was the recently elected US Senator for the state of Virginia.

Letter in William Mahone Papers 1853-1895, Box 17, folder 1879, Dec. 16-20.
Letter in William Mahone Papers 1853-1895, Box 17, folder 1879, Dec. 16-20.
Portion of clipping attached to above letter, in William Mahone Papers.
Portion of clipping attached to above letter, in William Mahone Papers.

The author of the letter, who decided not to sign their name, seemed to take issue with Mahone and the idea that he had turned his back on the Confederacy. He/she noted, “…you who once so nobly lead the Virginia troops to battle could now turn against them is a shame…The wrath of God is upon you.” What could have stirred up such vitriol from the sender of this brief but contemptuous letter? The answer lies in the article that was attached to the letter.

The clipping, though undated, was likely printed in the same year. The bold call of State Senator Cephas Davis, himself a former slave, for a resolution “prohibiting the use of the words one-legged, two-legged or four-legged Confederate soldier,” was undoubtedly newsworthy. Davis would only serve one year in the VA State Senate, but it is interesting that he not only saw himself a victor in the Civil War, but also an agent to ensure the Confederacy would not be remembered.

Post contributed by John Gartrell, Director of the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture.  This is the first in a series of posts on interesting documents in our collections to celebrate Black History Month. 

Week 4 is done!

We only have 2 weeks of moving left, thank goodness. We’re starting to see some results after all this hard work. We have been striving to send 3 full trucks to LSC everyday – that is 54-60 of these big blue carts per day!

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Big Blues on the way to the Library Service Center.

We are also almost totally done moving collections into swing space. This week, among other things, we moved the rest of our vault items. This was fun, since it meant we got to visit with our beloved Trent Collection of Whitmaniana as it traveled through the library to its new home.

Our Curator of Collections and some bound Walt Whitman manuscripts.
Our Curator of Collections and some bound Walt Whitman manuscripts.

The Lovers, the Dreamers, and the Rubenstein Movers

Hi Rubenstein Library move diary readers! We’re into Week 4 here at Rubenstein Library Move HQ. And one of the fun things about moving our collections out of our soon-to-be-renovated stacks has been marveling at the expanses of empty shelving. We have a lot of stuff!

Our stacks weren’t always, well, ours. A few decades ago, some of our floors were home to part of the Perkins Library’s circulating books collection and provided study space for lots and lots of undergraduates. As we’ve been preparing for the move, we’ve discovered many fine examples of library patron graffiti, some of which were pictured in a recent issue of Duke Magazine.

Now that our stacks are clearing out, it’s become easier to spot these pencilled masterpieces. Like the one shown below, which graces a second floor wall.

Kermit Graffiti from Rubenstein 2nd Floor Stacks

(And we will neither confirm nor deny that the voice in our head that squealed “KERMIEEEEEE!” was Miss Piggy’s. OK, we will confirm it.)

Week 3 is done!

We’re three weeks in to our move which means we’re halfway there! It does feel like we’ve reached a tipping point with the shelves in our new space feeling more full than our old space.  Here are some of our favorite that have made the move with us this week:

 

Sarah Dyer Zine Collection
Sarah Dyer Zine Collection

 

Portable ECG
The portable electrocardiograph from the History of Medicine Collections is indeed portable
Our collection of glass eyeballs, a perennial favorite from the History of Medicine Collections, has also made the move.
Our collection of glass eyeballs, a perennial favorite from the History of Medicine Collections, has also made the move.

 

Things We Will (Probably) Miss: Our Old Elevator

As the Rubenstein Library moves out of our space in original West Campus library building, it also means we won’t be using the 1928 elevator to carry us through all seven floors of the building anymore. Inside the Elevator While I could never decide if I found this elevator endearing or frightening, I think I’m going to miss its old school charms.   It has a heavy metal door and a brass gate that need to be opened and closed by hand, as well as instructions on how to use the button and the door and gate.

Instructions on how to operate elevator

If you want a chance to experience the thrills of Otis yourself, here’s a little video of a trip from the third floor up to the sixth floor in our former home.

Week 2 is done!

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Moving the bound-withs required a ladder. (Bound-withs are separately published pamphlets or titles, bound together into 1 book.)

We have made a lot of progress this week, moving everything from domestic advertisements from the Hartman Center to bound-withs to ledgers to more History of Medicine materials to our small manuscript collections. It’s time for another weekend. More updates next week!

Collections for a rainy day

The weather for the past week has been nothing but rain here in North Carolina. Just for fun, I looked up the January 17, 1862 entry in this diary from Philadelphia, and guess what I found?

January 17, 1862: Not very pleasant.
January 17, 1862: Not very pleasant.

January 17, 1862: Not very pleasant. (It was also “rainy and unpleasant” on January 18.) Perhaps this woman should have borrowed J. Walter Thompson’s umbrella, from the J. Walter Thompson Artifacts and Memorabilia collection.

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J. Walter Thompson’s umbrella.

Despite the rain, both of these collections safely made it to swing space today.

Dispatches from the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke University