Soviet magazine by Rodchenko and Gorki

ussrSpecial Collections has been receiving a number of unusual and wonderful books from the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, which donated its library to Colorado College last year. Special Collections Cataloger Amy Brooks draws our attention to one of these recent acquisitions, several 1932 issues of The USSR in Construction, a monthly magazine. You can read all about it here and see images here.

According to Alexandre Antique Prints, Maps & Books, Toronto, Canada, 2015, “…the real beauty of these magazines was not in ideology but in artistic design. [Alexander] Rodchenko and [Maxim] Gorki were avant-garde specialists and their methods of printing and layout are legendary. The magazine has lived on to become a fascinating example of Soviet propaganda; Stalin’s attempt to show the world that his rebuild was sustainable.”


tunnel books at CC Special Collections

Thames Tunnel coverThames Tunnel interiorTunnel books have been made and sold since the mid-18th century in Europe. The earliest one in CC Special Collections, History of the Thames Tunnel (1861), was sold to tourists in England, as was our next-earliest, The Picture-Post Coronation Peep-Show Book (1953).

Our copy of the Thames Tunnel book is quite worn, suggesting that many people looked through its eye-holes over the years before it came to the library.

Coronation 1Our Coronation book, on the other hand, was purchased in kit form and never put together. Luckily, the Journal of Wild Culture offers a photo essay showing what the book looks like from various angles.

tunnel book Arizona



Our other tunnel books are artists’ books made in the last two decades. Edward H. Hutchins’s  Arizona Wildlife (1999) is made from picture postcards.



Jill Timm’s Falling Leaves (2006).




Laura Russell’s Nocturne (2004) shows a fanciful version of the neon signs on Colfax Avenue in Denver and is a favorite among CC students.




Kyoko Matsunaga’s Aoyama Airport (2013).

For a good overview of tunnel books, see Jean-Charles Trebbi’s The Art of Pop-Up: The Magical World of Three-Dimensional Books (Promo Press, 2012), available at many libraries.

a donation from Professor Fuller

Tim Fuller, a member of the CC political science department since 1965, donated two rare and valuable books to Special Collections this month, both by Richard Hooker.

hooker 1617Professor Fuller writes: “My primary field of research is in British political thought since the English Reformation.  Richard Hooker was considered, and many still consider him, the greatest Anglican theologian. In the turmoil of the 16th century, Hooker defended the natural law tradition (he is sometimes referred to as the English Thomas Aquinas). He wrote against the “religious enthusiasm” of the Puritans, in defense of what became known as the Elizabethan Settlement which established Anglicanism as we have since known it. His great work, Laws of Ecclesiastical Politie, I acquired in two versions: hooker 1705the 1705 folio [below] in an Oxford bookshop in 1989, and the 1617 edition [above] from a Connecticut book dealer about 10 years later.  The 1705 is the complete work with a famous biographical introduction by Isaac Walton, the version used today by students of Hooker’s thought.  The complete work was not published until the 1660s.  The 1617 is roughly the fourth edition (there are several versions of it) which published through only the fifth book (of what was ultimately eight books), but is historically important.”

We are very pleased to have these at CC!

Library record for 1617 edition:
Library record for 1705 edition:

Dante again!

Special Collections seems to be making a habit of acquiring editions of Dante’s Commedia. Maybe this is because it was a hugely popular book in the early years of printing history, and it helps that Re Evitt teaches a whole course at CC on the text.

Our newest Dante is a five volume edition published in Padua in 1822 with the commentary of Baldassare Lombardi. The frontispiece illustrations in volumes 1, 2, and 3 will knock your socks off. Just look at ‘em!

dante 1822 vol 1dante 1822 vol 2dante 1822 vol 3


building a feminist collection

As you may recall, we recently acquired an early edition of Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman. We had such an outpouring of interest in the book that we decided we should reach out to the Feminist and Gender Studies program at CC and ask for suggestions for other acquisitions. A lively discussion ensued about the books that had brought us to feminism, and Special Collections ended up purchasing several first and/or interesting editions of:

Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook
Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye
Sylvia Plath, Ariel
John Berger, Ways of Seeing
Louisa May Alcott, Her Life, Letters, and Journals
Carol Gilligan, In a Different Voice (Robert Bly’s copy with his annotations)
Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

We’re always happy to talk with faculty about acquiring books they’ll use with their classes. I’m looking forward to incorporating these new acquisitions into instruction sessions in FGS classes and others.

CC Authors Reception

The CC Authors Reception is today! We’re celebrating 70 faculty and staff authors with publications since May of 2014. It’s quite gratifying to me, as a librarian and a writer, to see the impressive scholarly output of the faculty and staff at Colorado College, a small liberal arts college with a focus on teaching. You’d think we were a big university from the amount of publications on display!

This year we’re concurrently celebrating a few amazing new acquisitions in Special Collections, since, why not, we’re just upstairs from the authors reception. We’ve mentioned many of these acquisitions in earlier blog posts, but not these two:

themistoclesThemistius. Paraphrasis in Aristotelem. [Treviso, Italy]: Bartholomaeus Confalonerius and Morellus Gerardinus, 1481. Purchase. Now the earliest printed book in the library, beating out a 1484 Jacobus de Voragine for the honor. With bookworm damage (not affecting text) and a previous owner’s marginalia throughout.


beaumont fletcher madBeaumont, Francis, and John Fletcher. Fifty Comedies and Tragedies. Second folio. London: Printed by J. Macock, for John Martyn, Henry Herringman, Richard Marriot, 1679. Gift of the National Endowment for the Humanities Professorship at Colorado College, 2015, courtesy Steven Hayward.

The event is co-sponsored by Tutt Library and the Crown Faculty Center.

The Book of Mormon at CC

Book of Mormon spineNo one had requested our copy of the first edition of The Book of Mormon in at least fifteen years, but that all changed last month. First one request, then another, and then eighty Mormon visitors in one day, broken up into four groups in order not to overcrowd the reading room.

The Book of Mormon, the foundational text of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was first published in Palmyra, NY in 1830. 5000 copies were printed, of which at least 144 are currently in libraries. book-of-mormon-deseret-alphabet-1Joseph Smith’s text has been reprinted hundreds of times and translated into many languages and alphabets, including Brigham Young’s Deseret alphabet (one of several alphabets developed to simplify spelling in the 19th century, including one invented by Melvil Dewey, yes, he of the card catalog system).

The first edition of the book contains a number of typographical errors, including page 487 printed as 48, and, in some copies (not ours), “rumderers” for “murderers” on page 521. (For a full list, see Janet Jenson’s “Variations between Copies.”)

Book values change with the times, and the monetary value of this book has increased exponentially. According to library records, Colorado College purchased our copy for $250 in 1962. It was one of the first purchases made using the Hulbert Fund, honoring Archer Butler Hulbert, CC professor and scholar of the American West. The book is now worth perhaps $100,000. Our copy, however, is not for sale.

Book of Mormon purchase

the building that never was

Cutler New West imaginary


This illustration is from E.P. Tenney’s The New West, published 1878. It shows — or purports to show — the western facade of Colorado College’s Cutler Hall (also known as Palmer or simply “The College,” depending on the date).

Doesn’t it look enticing? A potential CC student could picture herself sitting with classmates and faculty in rocking chairs on that big back porch, talking together about Aristotle as they gazed out at a glorious Pikes Peak sunset.

Except that the porch, indeed the whole western piece of the building, was never built.

Nothing in The New West suggests that this illustration is any less real than the illustration of the building’s eastern facade, and indeed, at the time, they were equally imaginary. In 1878 the college did not yet have a freestanding building and operated out of a storefront in downtown Colorado Springs.

The middle piece of the planned building opened for classes in 1880, looking rather lonely out on the prairie:


Around 1882, wings were added:

Cutler exterior 1883But the western-facing bit was never built.

1814 Magic Flute

MozartmusicMozart title pageMozartPersonen





Look at this gift we got from Paul Petersky, CC class of 1977! It’s a two-volume score of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, in German and Italian, published in Bonn in 1814. It’s in remarkably good condition for its age, and we know it will be fun to show to CC students in the years to come.

1794 Wollstonecraft

wollstonecraftThe first edition of Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman, published in London in 1792, currently sells for about $20,000 (if you can even find one on the market). Too rich for our blood! We recently acquired a copy of the third American edition (Philadelphia, 1794) for a fraction of that price. (About a twentieth, if you must know.) Our edition was published toward the end of the author’s life: she died in 1797.

Colorado College students read this text in a number of classes (English, Philosophy, Feminist and Gender Studies). Perhaps an enterprising student will take the opportunity to compare this edition with earlier and later editions we have in electronic and paper form.