October 11th, 2013

Contributing Data for Greater Understanding

Lower edge, markings of the Franciscans of San Cerbone, Lucca, WKR 21.6.3On Monday of last week Dr. Cristina Dondi, one of the contributors to the six-volume Catalogue of Printed Books in the Fifteenth Century now in the Bodleian Library (Bod-Inc), principal investigator of Material Evidence in Incunabula (MEI), and, Secretary of the Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL), spoke at Houghton library on her current research and on Thursday she gave a workshop using materials drawn from the Library’s collections.  This series of lectures and workshops on early books and manuscripts is funded by Houghton Library, the Harvard University Program in Medieval Studies and the Harvard Law School Library’s Special Collections.  One of Dr. Dondi’s examples in the workshop was especially exciting as an indication of how Harvard Library material can contribute to a larger and collective understanding of the spread of early printing through an analysis of prices, trade and use.  We are grateful to volunteer John Lancaster who has been entering  Harvard data into MEI and we are pleased that Dr. Dondi has agreed to allow us to use her remarks in this blog. Keep reading →

October 9th, 2013

Liquid Courage

“Liquid courage” takes on a particularly tame form in German dance folios dating to the Weimar Republic. Tea steeps in the titles of social dance serials such as Zum 5 Uhr Tee (To Five O’Clock Tea), Zu Tee und Tanz (To Tea and Dance), Zum Tanz-Tee (To the Dancing Tea), and Tanztee und Tonfilm (Tea Dance and Sound Film). Though they whistle for attention in the Ward Collection as titular tropes, Tanztees initially brewed as genteel German social events in 1920’s and 1930’s.

Tanztees tended to occur in the early afternoon, sustained by light refreshments and light-on-the-feet foxtrots. These folios take inspiration from and cater to the attendees. Nevertheless, their gorgeous covers reveal the restraint of the Tanztee, even as they pay it homage. Tanztees dance into the domestic sphere, yet illustrators challenge its boundaries with repeated references of the exotic and explicitly non-domestic spaces.

2007TW-2077 (28) Cover
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October 8th, 2013

In Memory of Eleanor Garvey

Eleanor Garvey memorial booklet (cover)Houghton Library has published Eleanor M. Garvey: Friends, Family, and Colleagues Remember Her, a booklet reprinting the texts of recollections read at a memorial service for Ms. Garvey earlier this year. Ms. Garvey, retired Philip Hofer Curator of Printing and Graphic Arts at Houghton Library, passed away on February 11, 2013. Anyone who would like to have a copy of the booklet may request one by contacting the Department of Printing and Graphic Arts at Houghton Library and providing a mailing address. Contact information is: Hope Mayo, Department of Printing and Graphic Arts, Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138; or  mayo at fas.harvard.edu.

Eleanor Garvey memorial booklet

October 7th, 2013

Be our guest, be our guest…

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.

Description of the Retreat, an institution near York, for insane persons of the Society of Friends is a volume by Samuel Tuke who was a Quaker and mental-health reformer in early 19th-century England.  Tuke believed in this new concept of moral treatement of the insane in which the treatment focused on rewarding good behavior.  The text is quite fascinating and touches on information about what types of rooms patients had, their medical treatments and even their diet.


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October 4th, 2013

Houghton Library Visiting Fellowships

Houghton LibraryEach year Houghton Library awards a number of short-term visiting fellowships in support of scholarly use of our collections. Fellows will also have access to collections in Widener Library as well as to other libraries at the University. Preference is given to scholars whose research is closely based on materials in Houghton collections, especially when those materials are unique; fellowships are normally not granted to scholars who live within commuting distance of the library. Each fellow is expected to be in residence at Houghton for at least four weeks during the period from July 2014 through June 2015 (these do not have to be consecutive weeks). The stipend for each fellowship has been raised to $3,600 (note that the website may not yet reflect this recent change). The deadline for applications is 17 January 2014.

For further information, consult the Houghton Library website.

Fellowships to be Awarded in 2014-2015

  • Beatrice, Benjamin, and Richard Bader Fellowship in the Visual Arts of the Theatre
  • W. Jackson Bate/ Douglas W. Bryant, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Fellowship
    Successful applicants must either be an ASECS member in good standing or be willing to become a member in order to receive this fellowship.
  • William Dearborn Fellowship in American History
  • Rodney G. Dennis Fellowship in the Study of Manuscripts
  • The Ralph Waldo Emerson Fellowship
  • Eleanor M. Garvey Fellowship in Printing and Graphic Arts
  • Houghton Mifflin Fellowship in Publishing History
  • Donald and Mary Hyde Fellowship for the Study of Dr. Samuel Johnson and his Circle
  • Joan Nordell Fellowship
  • Katharine F. Pantzer Jr. Fellowship in Descriptive Bibliography
    This fellowship is available to assist scholarly research in descriptive bibliography at Houghton Library and carries a stipend of $3,000 per month, up to twelve months (maximum $36,000).  Fellows are expected to be in residence at Houghton Library for the duration of the fellowship.
  • Howard D. Rothschild Fellowship in Dance
  • John M. Ward Fellowship in Dance and Music for the Theatre

[Thanks to William Stoneman, Curator of Early Books and Manuscripts, for contributing this post.]

October 2nd, 2013

New on OASIS for October

The jubilee, an interesting game; exhibiting the remarkable events, from the accession of His Majesty, King George the Third, to the 25th of October, 1809. MS Eng 1749 (7) Finding aids for seven newly cataloged collections, and a preliminary box list for one recent acquisition, have been added to the OASIS database this month, including theatrical ephemera, correspondence of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller, and a collection of 19th century board games and playing cards.
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October 1st, 2013

Faustian correction

One of the great joys of cataloging at Houghton is that surprises lurk everywhere. From the most innocuous description in a box list one can stumble across masterpieces, or sometimes even more interestingly, milestones on the path to masterpiece-dom. Last night I opened what I thought would be an early full score of Gounod’s Faust, only to discover what appears to be a rare proof copy.

2007TW-83 (477) title page
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September 27th, 2013

New information about Emily Dickinson’s furniture

This past spring, Houghton Library collaborated with the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst and the North Bennet Street School in Boston to create exact reproductions of the writing desk and bureau originally in Emily Dickinson’s bedroom in the Homestead. Since 1950, the two iconic pieces have been part of the Emily Dickinson Collection at the Library, the gift of Gilbert Montague, Class of 1901.

As part of the project, the Library asked Sean Fisher of Robert Mussey Associates furniture conservation to do detailed condition reports on the two pieces. We suspected that the finishes were later than Dickinson’s lifetime; and there were some minor condition problems with the bureau. This would be an opportunity to learn more about the furniture.

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September 27th, 2013

Auspicious Debuts: Dear Liar

Jerome Kilty and Cavada Humphrey in Dear Liar, 1960. Angus McBean Photograph (MS Thr 581). © Harvard Theatre Collection, Harvard UniversityOn July 31, 1957, a thin crowd at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium in Cambridge, Mass. listened as Jerome Kilty (Harvard ’41) and Cavada Humphrey read—or pretended to read—from the correspondence of George Bernard Shaw, “the well-known vegetarian,” and famed English actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell.

Campbell.   Perhaps some day, if you are very good and behave properly at rehearsal I will write you a love letter.

Shaw.   A love letter! Sancta Simplicitas! When did you ever write me anything else? No; let me write; and do you pray for us both; for there is always danger when that devilment Love is at work!

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September 26th, 2013

New Digitization Roundup, Part VI

Mandelʹshtam, Osip, 1891-1938. Primus : detskie stikhotvorenii︠a︡, 1925. Typ 958.25.555With this post we’ve now caught up on Houghton’s digitization for the 2012-2013 fiscal year; look for future updates coming soon, and remember that you can click on the Digitization tag for all our blog posts on the subject. Highlights in this post include an expose of the 19th century impostor known as Princess Caraboo, the logbook of the whaling ship General Scott, and documents of an early colonial governor of South Carolina.
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