stenciled music, a sea monster, and a Harry Potter knockoff

Three exciting new acquisitions in Special Collections:


For our history of the book collection, an example of an unusual printing method for music (or anything): stenciling. Description from Les Enluminures: Antiphonal for the Day Offices, Diurnale Carmelitarum in quo continentur omnia quae cantantur in choro per annum [Carmelite Diurnal Containing Everything Sung in Choir throughout the Year]. In Latin, stenciled manuscript on parchment with musical notation. France, Paris, eighteenth century, c. 1700-40 (?) (after 1689).

Jumping ahead about three hundred years, we have a diorama-style artists’ book, Bryan Kring’s Sea Monster. From the Abecedarian Gallery description: “When the brass ring is pulled, the waves move, the sailboat rocks, and the arm of the monster rises threateningly.” Yes, it does, and it’s wonderful.

Bryan Kring Sea Monst_opt1

Last and perhaps least, Harry Potter and Leopard Walk Up to Dragon, an unauthorized Harry Potter book in Chinese, with illustrations stolen from Disney and other sources. This will be a useful book for Harry Potter fans and anyone interested in copyright and intellectual property. See this article for more information.


rats, rumps, and a nightmare

rump songsDuring a recent book move in Special Collections, we discovered, by chance, some wonderful surprises in our rare book vault. For example, it turns out we have a full Rump … a nineteenth century facsimile of a two volume set first published in 1662, officially titled Rump: or An Exact Collection of the Choycest Poems and Songs Relating to the Late Times. The books contain political poems and songs and, well, as you can guess, a lot of butt jokes. Mark McDayter at the University of Ontario has a rather thorough website about Rump, and a digital version of the  facsimile is available at the Internet Archives. (I learned from McDayter that you can tell the difference between the 1662 first edition and the 19th century quasi-facsimile by looking at the S’s. The original edition uses the long ∫ throughout; the quasi-facsimile never uses it.)

ratsWe also learned that we have Rats, or rather, Histoire des Rats by Claude-Guillaume Bourdon de Sigrais, published 1737, containing this gorgeously creepy engraving (detail). A digital facsimile of Rats is available from Google Books A digital facsimile of Rats is available from Google Books.

nightmareAnd if that illustration wasn’t enough to give you a nightmare, here’s a different kind of nightmare for you, from another recent discovery, George Cruikshank’s Comic Alphabet (1837). (We have many other alphabet books, including a popular pop-up.) A full version of the Cruikshank is available digitally here.


Is your dance card full?

Dc constant Dc crandall

We have dozens of 19th and 20th century dance cards in the Colorado College archives. (The examples above, both from 1912, belonged to CC alumnae Dorliska Crandall and Katherine Constant.) Students find the cards intriguing, and ask lots of questions about them: how did this dance card thing work, exactly? Did you fill out your dance card in advance of the dance, or at the dance, or afterward as a souvenir? Almost all our dance cards are from women’s scrapbooks. How did men keep track of their dance partners? Did they just keep the list in their heads?

V. Persis Dewey’s 1918 pamphlet “Tips to Dancers: Good Manners for Ballroom and Dance Hall” holds the answers. Dewey tells us, in no uncertain terms, the proper use of dance cards:

The programs are distributed at the door, in the cloak room, or during a grand march. It is the duty of the man to make out the programs for the lady whom he has escorted to the dance and for himself. It is best to make out the programs all at once and as early in the evening as possible.

In filling out a program, the man should write his name on the first line of his lady’s program, and her name on his. To indicate their dances, a double cross xx should be used.

At a program dance where the men and women come separately, each one keeps his or her own program. When the man invites a lady to dance he writes his name on her program after the number they decide to dance together.

These conventions, breakable as they must have been, suggest that our dearth of men’s dance cards comes less from men not using them and more from men not saving them in scrapbooks. And indeed, with a bit of sleuthing, I did find several dance cards belonging to Eugene Gordon Minter, CC class of 1930. Some of these cards have erasures and corrections, suggesting that Minter’s original dancing plans might not always have come to fruition.

Dcfront Dcinterior Dcwitherasures Dcgeorge

Both women’s and men’s dance cards include both women’s and men’s names. Mr. Dewey does not speak of same-sex partners in his pamphlet on dance etiquette, but it seems that same-sex partners were a normal and natural part of formal dances in the dance card era.

I think I would have really dug this whole dance card thing in high school and college, but maybe not so much in middle school, when it seems likely my dance card would have been filled with names like “I.P. Freely,” “Seymour Butts,” and “Mr. Bates.”

Sources: Dorliska Crandall scrapbook, CC Archives box 947; Katherine Constant collection, box 545; Eugene Gordon Minter scrapbook, box 923.

Sand Creek Massacre memoir: “all one sided”

Isaac Clarke memoir

Isaac Clarke memoir

page 191

page 191

In September of 2013, we received an amazing gift from Tom Courtney: a 200-page leather-bound handwritten memoir, dated 1892, by Isaac Clarke, a Union soldier who witnessed the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864.

Along with the manuscript, we received a 60-page typed “reconstruction” of the memoir, available in full here. See pages 40-43 of the transcription (179-195 of the original) for Clarke’s memories of Sand Creek.

Please note: the transcription corrects spelling and syntax and frequently paraphrases Clarke’s words. For example, on page 191 of the original (pictured above), Clarke writes:

…I do think it was the most cowardly act I ever saw and this was what is recorded in history as the grate sand creek Battle and it was a grate battle but all one sided for the indens were all kild an to tell the truth they wear a band of friendley indens and they were all masacread by the hundred day men.”

The transcription for this passage reads:

“…It was the most dastardly, cowardly act I ever saw, and this was what is recorded in history as the Great Sand Creek Battle. The truth of the matter was that it was a band of friendly Indians massacred by a regiment of white savages, the hundred day men.”

If possible, therefore, researchers should visit CC Special Collections and consult the original rather than depend solely upon the transcription.

1487 demonology book

fortalitium marginaliapointyphingerCC Special Collections recently purchased a 1487 edition of Alphonso de Spina’s Fortalitium Fidei (Fortress of Faith), written in 1458 and published anonymously multiple times in the late 15th century. The Fortalitium is a pro-Catholic work containing arguments against Muslims, Jews, and other detractors; its final section is on demons and how to fight them. It may be the first printed book to discuss witchcraft, and most certainly played a part in the Spanish Inquisition. The Fortalitium is generally understood to be an anti-Semitic work; some believe that de Spina, a Franciscan priest, converted from Judaism.

chestfaceOur edition (Lyon: Guillaume Balsarin) is in a later binding (probably 19th century) and contains a single woodblock illustration  depicting a demon with horns on its head and a face in its chest, perhaps a cousin to the Blemmyes (Latin Blemmyae), who have faces in their chests and no heads at all. Our copy, formerly in the library of the Convent of St. Francis of Siguenza in Guadalajara, Spain, has unusual marginalia from a former owner or owners, including decorative marks and, on the final page, a sort of doodle of a fuzzy-haired, winged demon.




ADDENDUM: in September of 2013, Penn’s Peter Stallybrass  visited Special Collections and viewed our copy of the Fortalitum. He believes the doodle may depict an 18th-century gravestone similar to those in the photographs below. We concur!


medusa 1797 Sweetsers-medusa  1776 Lydia Bordwell


Coochie-Coochie tenses

bucketlistsSpecial Collections is home to the Colorado College Zine Collection, an eclectic mix of low-price, semi-home-made, small-circulation publications. We recently acquired a complete set of J Diego Frey’s PocketBucket Lists, which are pocket-sized bundles of funny, poem-like lists of such things as “committees to avoid,” “the pillars of civilization,” and, as seen in the image, verb tenses for Coochie-Coochie. Frey also shares these lists online.

Dorny and Padgett pyramid book

padgett 1padgett 2padgett 3





In May of 2013 we purchased a copy of Petite Ode à Jean François Champollion by Ron Padgett and Bertrand Dorny. We have number 8 of 24 copies signed by the author and the artist. Each copy is somewhat different, with hand-glued collages throughout. Both the original text and the collage materials (maps, etc.) are in French. The book can be stored flat or displayed in a pyramid shape. Our particular copy comes with typed instructions from Padgett himself on how to configure the pyramid. (It isn’t difficult to configure, but those of us who find spatial relations challenging — this Curator included — will be glad to have the instructions.)

We are the second U.S. library (with Yale) and the third world-wide (with the Bibliothèque Nationale) to own a copy of this book. We look forward to sharing it with students and scholars.

Two new 16th century books

In the spring of 2013, Special Collections purchased two 16th century German books: Johann Schradin’s Expostulation (Augsburg, 1546) and David Chytraeus’s Historia der Augspurgischen Confession (Rostock, 1576).

schraderAccording to Blackwell Books in London (the dealer who sold us these books), the Expostulation is a poem about Ariovistus, Arminius, Barbarossa, and Georg von Frundsberg visiting the author in a dream. Perhaps of interest to book studies folks, two of its pages didn’t print properly and someone added the missing text in manuscript. This image shows the manuscript text on the verso of leaf 9.

chytraeuschytraeus claspsThe Chytraeus has a contemporary pigskin binding with working clasps. A history of the Augsburg Confession, the text was translated into many languages and frequently reprinted after it first appeared in 1576. Our copy has marginalia from at least one previous owner and a rebacked spine.

Dream interpretation made easy

madame  fruitdreams

Madame Le Marchand’s Fortune Teller and Dreamer’s Dictionary (1863) will tell you the meaning of everything in your dreams. Each fruit, for example, has a particular meaning: cherries “portend vexation and trouble in marriage”; gooseberries “indicate many children,” and filberts “forebode much trouble and danger.” (Has J.K. Rowling’s Sybill Trelawney been reading this book?)

The numbers after each entry are the lucky numbers your dreams have provided. Visit Special Collections and request the book to begin interpreting your own dreams the official 1863 way.

Postcard collages by Mary Chenoweth and the Pikes Peak Pen Women

Chenoweth postcardsOn Saturday, January 19, the Pikes Peak Pen Women visited Special Collections to learn about historical writers and artists in Colorado. They viewed the original handwritten manuscript of Helen Hunt Jackson’s novel Ramona, books by Ann Zwinger, artists’ books by Alicia Bailey and others, and postcard collages by Mary Chenoweth.

Special Collections is home to the papers of Chenoweth, an artist who taught at Colorado College from 1953 until 1983. She made sculptures, woodcarvings, woodcuts, watercolor and oil paintings, etchings, and more. Making art was an everyday activity for her, and she frequently created one-of-a-kind postcard collages and mailed them to friends and family.

Pen Women postcardsThe Pen Women usually do some kind of writing exercise at their meetings. This time, instead, they made their own postcard collages, using recycled materials such as scraps from magazines and catalogs. I hope the club members will do as Chenoweth did and mail their postcards to friends and loved ones. Perhaps we can start a home-made-postcard-making trend!