1598 Aristotle discovery

For many years, Special Collections had about thirty books and boxes on a shelf labeled “cataloging snags.”  We ignored these as long as we could, but finally one day we gave the shelf some attention.

As you might expect, we found mostly 20th century books in non-Roman writing systems — books in Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, etcetera. There was also a box of old coins, including, gasp, a penny from the 1950s, worth perhaps as much as 15 cents to an expert collector. The shelf was full of junk, in other words. Nothing “special” for Special Collections at all.

And then there was this.

Aristotlecover

The curator opened it up.

Aristotletp

Let us try to approximate the sound she made at this point. It was something like this:

aahhAAHHAAHHHHHH?! urghhghhrraahhhhrghhfhfhhhhghhh.

The book is the first published English translation of Aristotle’s Politics, printed by Adam Islip in London in 1598. It has the bookplate of scholar Sir Sidney Lee (b. 1859), editor of the Dictionary of National Biography. He wrote a little bit about Aristotle and a lot about Shakespeare.

We cataloged it right away. How it ended up on the cataloging snags shelf, we don’t know. It wasn’t terribly difficult to catalog — it has its title page, and the Library of Congress owns a copy. It’s in beautiful condition and is one of the more valuable books we have in the library. It’s now in our temperature- and humidity-controlled high-security vault. We bring it out regularly to show to classes in Classics, Philosophy, Political Science, and Book Studies. And we’re thinking about making the kitty cat on the title page the mascot for Special Collections.

Aristotlekittycat

CC student-made books at The Floating Library

9561183486_67c11c4b14_m The Floating Library in Minnesota has accepted a number of books made by CC students at The Press at Colorado College.  We are thrilled! Books include Post Book, Animal, The 2014 Senior Fiction Chapbook Series, Circular Logic, and Back Pages. Authors/printers/designers include, in no particular order, Andrea More, Sean Rapp, Atticus Moorman, Amos Adams, Kristy Murray, Eliza Ashley, Eliza Brilliant, Hannah W., Hershall Cook, Justine Comacho, Grace Hunter, Karl Oman, Steven Hayward, Andrew Pyper, Sam Tarlow, Gracie Ramsdell, Tucker Hamspon, Jay Combs, Ben Grund, Sami Kelso, Alec Grushkin, McKenzie Ross, Naomi Blech, Savannah Worth, Eddie Figueroa, Zack Smith, Elise Burchard, Anneka Shannon, Maria Torres, Ming Lee Newcomb, Isabel Leonard, Katie Barasch, Natasha Appleweis, Daniel Rood-Ojalvo, Mike Mayer, Patrick Lofgren, Nanette Phillips, Adara Lawson, Tara Coyle, Heather Ezell, Drew Zieff, Jesse Paul, Melissa Rush, Evan Ryan, Emily Kohut, Madelyn Santa, Mikala Sterling, Kyra Wolf, Josie Wong, and Aaron Cohick.

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History and Future of the Book printing projects

postbook cover postbook page postbook doublespread

In support of Colorado College’s minor in book studies, Humanities Liaison Librarian Steve Lawson and Curator of Special Collections Jessy Randall co-teach a half-block class, “The History and Future of the Book,” offered every other year since 2010. Each time, students (classes of five, eighteen, and twenty-five) worked with the printer at The Press at Colorado College to make some sort of book-like object of their own devising. At least one copy of each of these is now preserved in Special Collections (along with other student-made printing projects for other classes). The projects are PostBook (2014), Title (2012, also available digitally), and Book Quotes Book (2010).

titlecover book quotes book 2010

 

What does Special Collections look like?

Coburn Library Colorado Room ca 1920
With plans afoot to renovate Tutt Library in the near future, we thought it might be fun to document the spaces Special Collections has inhabited over the years.

In Coburn Library, we had the Colorado Room, home to Professor Archer Butler Hulbert’s books and often the professor himself. Hulbert taught history at CC from 1920 until his death in 1933. He published many books on the American West and Southwest, including The Forty-Niners and the Overland to the Pacific series.

Coburn was built in 1892, renovated in 1940, and razed in 1964, so that was the end of the Colorado Room.

The architects’ plans for Tutt Library, built in 1962, contained a small Special Collections area adjacent to a Smoking Lounge [!]. The main room was used primarily for display. In 1977, the Woman’s Educational Society funded custom-built wooden shelves for the area, which was renamed the Colorado College Room.

TuttSpecialCollectionsca1970TuttSpecialCollectionsca1979

In 1980, when the collections and services of the library outgrew the original Tutt building, the college built “Tuttlet,” an annex to the south. It contains a new Special Collections with the same W.E.S. shelves.

In recent decades, we’ve had some quiet days…

TuttSpecialCollectionsca1990

and some very busy days (additional shelves built by Dan Crossey).

TuttSpecialCollections2012

We’re looking forward to seeing what happens next for Special Collections at Colorado College.

MASSsketch

 

May acquisitions

hanmer

In May of 2014 we acquired lots of new goodies. We purchased Karen Hanmer’s boxed set of binding models, Biblio Tech: Reverse Engineering Historical and Modern Binding Structures.genderzines

Adison Petti of Colorado College’s Collaborative for Community Engagement donated about thirty zines to the CC Zine Collection, most of them concerning social activism and/or transgender experiences.

And our own Amy Brooks, Cataloging Coordinator at Special Collections, donated a 1951 cookbook published by Westinghouse, Sugar an’ Spice and All Things Nice, which is full of excellent recipes and even more excellent illustrations.

hash

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

Three exciting new acquisitions in Special Collections:

stencil

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.

leopard-small

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.

doodle

stallybrass

 

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