May 4, 2012 by Maggie Kopp
Monday, May 7 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of renowned Victorian poet Robert Browning. Special Collections owns a treasure trove of Browning items, including first and rare editions of his works, books once owned by Browning, and first and rare editions of works by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert’s wife and a famous poet in her own right. Special Collections is displaying some of these unique items in a small exhibit in our reference room starting Monday – come see an example of Browning’s handwriting!
April 18, 2012 by Maggie Kopp
Children learning to read are often given ABC picture books to introduce them to the alphabet — perhaps you had a favorite when you were young. The standard form for today’s alphabet book originates in the 19th century. Early in the century, children often learned their letters using short primers, which listed the alphabet, common syllables and short words, and were usually accompanied by a familiar Bible story. As the century progressed, alphabet books lost some of their religious themes – common animals and household objects were used to illustrate the letters, rather than Biblical texts. As color printing technologies advanced in the later 19th century, ABC books became more common and more elaborately illustrated. Some alphabet books contained moral themes, but the illustrations in later ABC books were generally of common objects that a child would be familiar with.
Special Collections holds a number of late 19th-century alphabet books, published both in America and England. Most are in color, and many are printed on linen cloth so as to resist wear and tear from small hands. They are also compelling sources of history, since they reflect the period’s attitudes about children and education.
To find alphabet books in Special Collections, search the library catalog for the genre term “alphabet books.” You can further refine your search by adding “United States” or “England” to your search string if you would like to look for examples from specific countries.
March 27, 2012 by Maggie Kopp
Two of the newest acquisitions in the Rare American Literature collection are memoirs by Civil War-era nurses. These books complement the memoirs of more famous Civil War nurses in Special Collections, including Louisa May Alcott and Walt Whitman.
Notes of Hospital Life is an anonymous work which relates the experience of a Union nurse working in a Philadelphia army hospital in 1862 and 1863. The narrative ends with the arrival of the wounded and dead from Gettysburg. Mrs. Anna M. Holstein’s Three Years in Field Hospitals of the Army of the Potomac relates some of her experiences as a battlefield nurse. She began her duties in a field hospital during the aftermath of the Battle of Antietam (Oct. 1862), and served as a nurse at Gettysburg and other battlefields for the duration of the war. She also nursed former prisoners of war after they were released by the Confederacy.
March 7, 2012 by Maggie Kopp
Did you know that Special Collections’ Walt Whitman Collection contains around 80 separate editions of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, including most of the editions issued by the poet during his lifetime? Whitman was constantly revising and reorganizing Leaves of Grass, so a collection of the various editions he released provides scholars with a picture of how the text, and Whitman’s poetic expression, evolved. The newest addition to the Whitman collection is the fifth edition of Leaves, published in 1871.
February 2, 2012 by Maggie Kopp
The 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens is this Tuesday, February 7. At Special Collections, we are celebrating with a small exhibit on this beloved author’s life and works. The exhibit features first editions of A Christmas Carol and Great Expectations, Nicholas Nickleby in parts, and an original steel printing plate used to produce an illustration in the first edition of David Copperfield.
“The World of Charles Dickens” will be on display all month in Special Collections’ lobby area. The exhibit was curated by Lisa Jackson New, an intern at Perry Special Collections.
January 23, 2012 by Maggie Kopp
One major area of emphasis in the Victorian and Edwardian Literature Collections is work by British women novelists. Special Collections owns first editions of beloved authors like the Brontë sisters, Elizabeth Gaskell, and George Eliot; but there is a wealth of literature by novelists who are less celebrated today but produced best-sellers in their own time.
Some of the newest additions to the Literature collections by female authors include:
Elizabeth Gaskell, The Moorland Cottage (1850). An early novella by Gaskell, which depicts the life of a young girl, Maggie Browne, whose mother mistreats her but spoils her brother Edward.
Lady Anne Isabella Ritchie, Mrs. Dymond (1885). This novel, by the daughter of author William Makepeace Thackeray, is a family drama set in England’s Lake District and Paris at the time of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71).
Mary Elizabeth Braddon, All Along the River (1893). Braddon was a bestselling author of sensation fiction. The heroine of this novel is tempted to leave her husband, who is away on a tour of duty in India. Her choice, and its consequences, drive the plot.
December 13, 2011 by Maggie Kopp
The following books are a sampling of some of the recent works of criticism acquired for the Herman Melville Collection. To find these books and others, search the library catalog for the subject “Melville, Herman” or “Melville, Herman, 1819-1891–Criticism and interpretation.”
David Dowling, Chasing the White Whale: The Moby-Dick Marathon; or, What Melville Means Today. University of Iowa Press, 2010.
Stanton Garner, The Two Intertwined Narratives in Herman Melville’s Billy Budd: A Study of an Author’s Literary Method. Edwin Mellen Press, 2010.
Birgit Mara Kaiser, Figures of Simplicity: Sensation and thinking in Kleist and Melville. State University of New York Press, 2011.
Jamie Lorentzen, Sober Cannibals, Drunken Christians: Melville, Kierkegaard, and Tragic Optimism in Polarized Worlds. Mercer University Press, 2010.
Geoffrey Sanborn, Whipscars and Tattoos: The Last of the Mohicans, Moby-Dick, and the Maori. Oxford University Press, 2011.
November 22, 2011 by Maggie Kopp
The United States Civil War period has inspired many writers of fiction, and has provided a rich setting for novels as diverse as Little Women, Gone With the Wind, Rifles for Watie, and The Killer Angels. Special Collections contains an array of important Civil War-related fiction, including literature by those who experienced the war firsthand (Louisa May Alcott, Ambrose Bierce) and 19th and 20th century authors born after the war’s end (Stephen Crane, Margaret Mitchell, William Faulkner). First editions of important novels like Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage and story collections like Bierce’s Tales of Soldiers and Civilians or Faulkner’s The Unvanquished can all be found in Special Collections. The literary collections also contain a number of 19th and early 20th-century boy’s adventure books set during the Civil War, by authors like G. A. Henty, Gordon Stables, Oliver Optic, and Joseph Altsheler.
Civil War fiction can be found in the library catalog by performing a subject search using the terms “United States history Civil War fiction.” Note: leaving out the term “history” will bring up dystopian science fiction and fantasy along with Civil War fiction.
November 10, 2011 by Kristi Young
An exhibition entitled Women & Creativity is showing in the Perry Special Collections foyer November 3-22. One of the areas of creativity discussed is literature. Jessica Day George is the featured author. Her first book Dragon Slippers is demonstrated through manuscript, drawing, correspondence, and a French edition. George’s manuscripts have recently been published and are available at MSS 7550. It is an expanding collection and within six months the manuscript for George’s new novel Tuesdays at the Castle will become part of the collection.
October 28, 2011 by Maggie Kopp
Several new critical works on William Wordsworth, his contemporaries, and English Romanticism have been added to the Edward M. Rowe Collection of William Wordsworth. These include:
- Arthur H. Bell, “The child in Wordsworth’s major poetry: a master metaphor and its implications.” Lexingford Publishing, 2010.
- Jacqueline Labbe, “Writing romanticism: Charlotte Smith and William Wordsworth, 1784-1807.” Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
- Gregory Leadbetter, “Coleridge and the daemonic imagination.” Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
- Eric Lindstrom, “Romantic fiat: demystification and enchantment in lyric poetry.” Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
- Reeve Parker, “Romantic tragedies: the dark employments of Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley.” Cambridge University Press, 2011.
These titles may be consulted in Special Collections’ Reading Room during normal operating hours.