Kenny's Choice: March Binding of the Month Club
Thu, 07 Apr 2016 17:05:00 +0000
Welcome to the March 2016 Binding of the Month Club!
Did you know that the University of North Carolina Greensboro digital projects website is not the only place to view our collection of American trade bindings? If you haven’t discovered them yet, let me encourage you to visit the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) (1). Headquartered at the Boston Public Library, the DPLA was launched in April 2013 after years of planning. Their website gives this summary of their purpose:
"The vision of a national digital library has been circulating among librarians, scholars, educators, and private industry representatives since the early 1990s. Efforts led by a range of organizations, including the Library of Congress, HathiTrust, and the Internet Archive, have successfully built resources that provide books, images, historic records, and audiovisual materials to anyone with Internet access. Many universities, public libraries and other public-spirited organizations have digitized materials, but these digital collections often exist in silos. The DPLA brings these different viewpoints, experiences, and collections together in a single platform and portal, providing open and coherent access to our society's digitized cultural heritage." (2)
The UNCG Libraries are a contributing institution to DPLA through the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center, one of DPLA’s partners, and our American Publishers’ Trade Bindings (APTB) collection can be viewed in its entirety on DPLA.
Why bring up DPLA on American Trade Bindings and Beyond? In addition to my personal respect for what they’re doing and the quality of the product (11,776,547 digital items as I write this), and that you can find our bindings on their site, and to celebrate their third anniversary, I was delighted to find that one of their staff is a big fan of APTB! Let me introduce you to Kenny Whitebloom, Manager of Special Projects at DPLA. According to his bio, Kenny “works to build DPLA’s network of users and supporters through events and programs, communications, partnerships, strategic initiatives, and other projects that promote growth and innovation. He previously worked at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Kenny holds a MLIS from Simmons School of Library and Information Science and a BA in History and Italian from Vassar College. Kenny’s current favorite DPLA items are the bindings for A Kentucky Cardinal and Aftermath (1900), Like a Gallant Lady (1897), The Tent on the Beach (1899), and The Legatee (1903).”
In addition to his accomplishments, Kenny also has great taste in bindings. The titles he lists have binding designs by Hugh Thomson, Will Bradley, Margaret Armstrong, and the Decorative Designers respectively--all very heavy hitters in the world of binding design, and innovators in illustration and design. Hugh Thomson (1860-1920) was born in Coleraine, County Londonderry, Ireland and died in London. He was known for his work in periodical and book illustration. In our context, he illustrated a number of classic authors, including Shakespeare, Austen, Dickens, and Oliver Goldsmith, as well as contemporary authors such as James Barrie and James Lane Allen. In the 1880s and 1890s he created binding designs (and illustrations) for a number of books for Macmillan and Kegan Paul. These are instantly recognizable by their elaborate pictorial scenes, stamped in gilt, and usually on dark cloth (we have five of his covers in the collection). Will H. Bradley (1868-1962) was an artist, book, magazine and graphic designer, illustrator, typographer, writer, and was considered one of the pre-eminent poster artists in the United States. He started his own publishing firm, the Wayside Press, in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1895. He designed covers for both small presses (H.S. Stone and Way & Williams of Chicago, R.H. Russell of New York) and large publishing firms (Frederick A. Stokes, John Lane, Dodd, Mead and Company (3)). We've met Margaret Armstrong (1867-1944) in several earlier posts and her work will be featured again; many consider her among the best, if not the best, of the binding designers. For this post, however, my choice from Kenny's favorites is The Legatee, by Alice Prescott Smith (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1903), with a binding by the Decorative Designers--I'm an unrepentant fan of designs on black or charcoal gray cloth... The dramatic pictorial cover shows a forest in flames. The somber black cloth becomes silhouetted pines against a background of swirling multicolored flames reaching (by implication) far up into the sky. This cover is a good example of the switching of foreground image (the only inked portion of the design) into background, with the illusion of background black cloth becoming the foreground image. The extremely restrained lettering in the center of the cover completes the design. At first glance the darkened portion of the flames in the upper right might be mistaken as intentional, representing smoke among the flames. After a more careful look at our copy and comparing it to the copy at the University of California, this “effect” turns out to be nothing more than the result of aging and the thousand natural shocks that cloth is heir to.
University of California copy
The Legatee is a story of the lumber districts and lumber trade in the northeastern peninsula of Wisconsin in the early 1870s. With references to Lake Michigan and the beaches and bluffs around the town of Wilsonport, the location must be the southern coast of the Door Peninsula, though this is not specifically mentioned. A young Virginian comes to the area after inheriting a lumber mill from his deceased uncle. There is an immediate clash between the rural, isolated upper Midwest villagers and young Robert Proctor, our hero, who until the Civil War had been a slave owner. Neither understands the other and hostility grows. He comes to love Katherine Edminster, the daughter of the local doctor, and her initial animosity gradually turns to affection. The novel culminates with an account of the Great Peshtigo Fire (though not called this in the book) of October 8-10th, 1871 which devastates the entire region. A very favorable review in the San Francisco Call of April 26, 1903, draws particular attention to the creation of original characters and the relationships among them, and that the “The catastrophe is worked up with dramatic skill and is described with a genuine intensity of feeling and vividness of pictorial effect.” (4)
|From the November 25, 1871 issue ofHarper's Weekly magazine|
The fire which climaxes The Legatee was “the worst recorded forest fire in North American history.” Coincidentally (or is it? There are theories, including aliens …), a much more famous fire broke out the same night, October 8th, in Chicago. Although the Great Chicago Fire is now part of our shared culture, the Peshtigo fire, which killed between 1500 and 2500 people (the devastation was so great that local records were destroyed and an accurate count was impossible), and burned 1.2 million acres, is little known today. The fires were caused by a prolonged drought coupled with high temperatures and sudden cyclonic western winds which turned small fires, set to clear forest land, into a firestorm, with “fire tornadoes,” winds over 100 miles per hour, and temperatures of 2,000 degrees. (5)
Little information about the author is readily available. Alice Prescott Smith wrote four novels in the early part of the twentieth century, The Legatee (1903) being her first. The next two, Off the Highway (1904) and Montlivet (1906), followed quickly, with her final book, Kindred, appearing in 1925. The first three novels were published by Houghton, Mifflin and Company and the last by Houghton Mifflin Company, which took this new form of name after incorporating in 1908. A “List of United States citizens (for the immigration authorities)” dated Dec. 14, 1927 (6), gives her name as a passenger on the S.S. “President Van Buren”, sailing from Marseilles, France, Nov. 30, 1927 and arriving at the port of New York, Dec. 14, 1927. The same source gives her age as 58 years, 1 month, and her place and date of birth as St. Paul, Minn., Nov. 1, 1859. Her U.S. address was at 992 Green St., San Francisco, Calif. The review of The Legatee mentioned above tells us further that Alice grew up among the people and scenes she described. Her father, a Congregational missionary, had a large parish of widely scattered farms and villages, and Alice accompanied her father on his many long drives from farm to farm and “there was not a village she did not know.” During these visits she heard many stories of the great fire of October 1871. The review further states that before The Legatee, she had been “content to write short stories,” and that she had been a resident of San Francisco for the past thirteen years (i.e. since 1890, so she arrived in California at roughly age 31).
"All that's very well--and who doesn't want to know about a huge fire--but what about the binding designer?" That’s a fair question. I apologize for treating the main course like dessert, but when it’s the Decorative Designers you really have both in one. Much is known about the firm, in large part because of the pioneering work of Charles Gullans and John Espey (7) who had the good fortune to interview one of the co-founders of the firm, Lee Thayer, in the early 1970s. UCLA’s Special Collections holds a substantial “Collection of Materials by and Relating to the Decorative Designers” donated by Gullans and Espey (8).
The firm was unique in several ways, first of all because it was a firm. It was founded in 1895 by the architect Henry Thayer (1867-1940) who quickly hired Emma Reddington Lee (1874-1973), who was trained in the decorative arts. Emma later married Thayer (1909) and changed her name to Mrs. Lee Thayer. Two other artists were hired, Rome K. Richardson, (born 1877) and Adam Empie. Later Charles Buckles Falls (1874-1960) and Jay Chambers (1877-1929) were added. Most binding designers worked as individuals, whether by contract or commission by publishers, or as art directors for the publishers.
Another unique feature of the firm was division of labor. Henry Thayer, trained as an architect, was responsible for a great deal of the lettering on book covers or other work (the firm also did illustration, dust jacket design, advertising, and other design work). Lee Thayer was responsible for decorative designs and borders. Richardson, who was with the Decorative Designers from 1896-1901, and Adam Empie transferred the designs to brass plates and engraved them. Charles Buckles Falls and Jay Chambers, the latter working for the firm from 1902-1913, provided the figurative drawings used for “narrative” designs. Although work for the firm was either unsigned or signed with their distinctive interlocked DD monogram, with the second “D” reversed, all of the artists working for the firm produced covers that were largely or completely by the single artist. Falls, Richardson and Empie also signed these solo efforts with distinctive monograms. Examples of these single designer bindings and monograms are given below (except Empie, as we have no examples of his solo work). In all, the firm produced an astonishing output of around 25,000 pieces of design work, an unknown number of which were book covers, though they were certainly in the thousands. The firm was dissolved in 1931 and Lee and Henry Thayer’s marriage ended in divorce the next year. Our digital collection includes 120 covers by the Decorative Designers at this time. Only somewhere between 10 and 100 times that number to go!
Cover designs by Lee Thayer (left) and Henry Thayer (right) and Jay Chambers (below)(9)
Cover designs by Rome Richardson (below left) and Charles Buckles Falls (below right)
And their monograms
Thanks again, Kenny, for your interest in the American Publishers’ Trade Bindings digital collection, and for a fine selection of favorites. And to our visitors, don’t forget that your’s could be the next selection for Binding of the Month. Just drop us a comment.
(1) Wikipedia article, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Public_Library_of_Americafor a brief overview.
(3) A nice site with brief biography, checklists of his artistic output and writings, timeline, etc. is at http://willbradley.com/
(6) “New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-21741-32740-69?cc=1923888), 4184 - vol 9331, Dec 14, 1927 > image 184 of 486; citing NARA microfilm publication T715 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
(7) For a useful short account of the firm, see: Gullans, Charles and John Espey. “American Trade Bindings and Their Designers, 1880-1915.” In Peters, Jean, ed. Collectible Books: Some New Paths. New York: Bowker, 1979, p. 32-67.
(8) Online finding aid at: http://pdf.oac.cdlib.org/pdf/ucla/mss/deco1182.pdf(9) Attributions by Lee Thayer as reported by Gullans and Espey in Collectible Books. The image for The Yellow Van is from the invaluable website Publishers Bindings Online (PBO) with my thanks. We have a copy in our collection but it's in poor condition.
Cleaning Books and Paper Documents
Mon, 18 Apr 2016 13:19:00 +0000
Cleaning Books and Paper Documents
Check for a few tips on cleaning books and documents. No Boundaries in Preservation second poster and video is all about that. You can download the poster and watch the YouTube video at:
No Boundaries in Preservation is a three languages project - English, Portuguese and Spanish - and is committed to outreach a large number of communities in the Americas and Western Europe, offering videos and posters with basic technical information in the libraries and archives preservation field.
Don't forget to join and follow us on social media to get the latest news on this project.
Funding for No Boundaries in Preservation was generously provided by the University Libraries Innovation Grant Program at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA.
Distinguished Jewish-Christian relations scholar to speak at UNCG
Wed, 20 Apr 2016 14:42:00 +0000
Amy-Jill Levine, a distinguished scholar of Jewish-Christian relations, will deliver her lecture “Jesus’ Parables as Jewish Stories” on Wednesday, April 20, at UNCG.
Levine is currently a professor at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, and she received her master’s and doctoral degrees at Duke University. She has published numerous books including “The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus,” “The Historical Jesus in Context” and “Feminist Companions to the New Testament.”
Hosted by the UNCG Jewish studies program in partnership with the Religious Studies Department, Levine’s lecture is part of the Henry Samuel Levinson Lecture.
Levine’s lecture will be held in the Elliott University Center auditorium at 7:30 p.m. on April 20. A reception will follow. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Department of Religious Studies at 334-5762 or email Ellen Haskell at firstname.lastname@example.org
April 19, 2016 by Campus Weekly Staff
The Friends of the UNCG Libraries are advocates and supporters of the Libraries. Our Friends make a real difference in our ability to serve the campus and the local community.
Friends of the UNCG Libraries Announce Fall 2016 Book Discussions Schedule
Tue, 26 Apr 2016 12:00:00 +0000
Monday, September 19, 2016: Discussion of Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay: Reflections on Art, Family, and Survival, by Christopher Benfey, led by Emily Stamey of the Weatherspoon Art Museum. 4 p.m., Hodges Reading Room, 2nd floor Jackson Library.
Monday, October 10, 2016: Discussion of Looking for Palestine, by Najla Said, led by Dr. Jeff Jones of the History Department, 7 p.m., Hodges Reading room, 2nd floor Jackson Library.Please note the different start times on these two discussions.
Emily Stamey of the Weatherspoon Art Museum and Jeff Jones of the History Department will lead two book discussions this fall for the ongoing series of the Friends of the UNCG Libraries.
On Monday, September 19 at 4 pm, Dr. Stamey will lead a discussion in the Hodges Reading Room in Jackson Library of a book chosen in conjunction with the 75th anniversary of the Weatherspoon.
The book, Christopher Benfey’s Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay: Reflections on Art, Family, and Survival
, was a 2012 NY Times Notable Book with a bit of a North Carolina flavor. Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay
follows one incredible family to discover a unique craft tradition grounded in America’s vast natural landscape. Looking back through the generations, renowned critic Christopher Benfey unearths an ancestry—and an aesthetic—that is quintessentially American. His mother descends from colonial explorers and Quaker craftsmen, who carved new arts from the trackless wilds of the frontier. Benfey’s father escaped from Nazi Europe—along with his aunt and uncle, the famed Bauhaus artists Josef and Anni Albers—by fleeing across the Atlantic and finding an eventual haven in the American South.
Bricks form the backbone of life in North Carolina’s rural Piedmont, where Benfey’s mother was raised among centuries-old folk potteries, tobacco farms, and clay pits. Her father, like his father before him, believed in the deep honesty of brick, that men might build good lives with the bricks they laid. Nurtured in this red-clay world of ancient craft and Quaker radicalism, Benfey’s mother was poised to set out from home when a tragic romance cracked her young life in two. Salvaging the broken shards of his mother’s past and exploring the revitalized folk arts resisting industrialization, Benfey discovers a world brimming with possibility and creativity.
Benfey’s father had no such foundation in his young life, nor did his aunt and uncle. Exiled artists from Berlin’s Bauhaus school, Josef and Anni Albers were offered sanctuary not far from the Piedmont at Black Mountain College. A radical experiment in unifying education and art, Black Mountain made a monumental impact on American culture under Josef’s leadership, counting Robert Rauschenberg, John Cage, and Buckminster Fuller among its influential students and teachers. Focusing on the natural world, innovative craftsmanship, and the physical reality of materials, Black Mountain became a home and symbol for an emerging vision of American art.Looking for Palestine
, by Najla Said, will be the Keker First Year Common Read for this year. Dr. Jones will lead the Friends’ discussion at 7 pm on Monday, October 10, also in Jackson Library.
The daughter of the famous intellectual and outspoken Palestinian advocate Edward Said and a sophisticated Lebanese mother, Najla Said grew up in New York City, confused and conflicted about her cultural background and identity. Said knew that her parents identified deeply with their homelands, but growing up in a Manhattan world that was defined largely by class and conformity, she felt unsure about who she was supposed to be, and was often in denial of the differences she sensed between her family and those around her. She may have been born a Palestinian Lebanese American, but Said denied her true roots, even to herself—until, ultimately, the psychological toll of her self-hatred began to threaten her health.
As she grew older, she eventually came to see herself, her passions, and her identity more clearly. Today she is a voice for second-generation Arab Americans nationwide.
Both discussions are free and open to the public.
Check-in to see which new DVDs are hitting the shelves in Jackson Library!
Thu, 28 Apr 2016 01:36:00 +0000
North Carolina Gardening!
Thu, 28 Apr 2016 16:24:00 +0000
Spring has sprung! Flowers are in bloom, the trees are leafing out again, pollen is in the air... During this time of year, many choose to spruce up their green thumbs and plant a garden. The NC Literary Map has several titles to help jump start or perhaps maintain all of this beautiful greenery.
One of these books is entitled "The Carolinas Gardener's Handbook" by Toby Bost and Bob Polomski. This comprehensive guide contains information, advice, and challenges on a variety of types of garden plants. Check it out at your local library or bookstore!
Please come back next week for a quick glimpse at another book about gardening in North Carolina! Happy reading!
SCUA collects, preserves, and makes accessible rare, unique, or otherwise significant materials outside the scope of the general UNCG library collection. We also deliver presentations, classes, tours, and exhibits.
Our collections include official records, personal manuscripts, rare books, textiles, A/V materials and artifacts. Subject strengths include women's history, literature, theatre, music, and dance.
SCUA at Reunion Weekend: Welcoming back the Class of 1966!
Mon, 18 Apr 2016 12:13:00 +0000
On Friday, April 15 as part of the University's Reunion Weekend activities, staff of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives set up a large exhibit on University history and the University in the 1960s in the Pre-Function Room of the EUC Auditorium. Members of the Class of 1966 were able to reminisce while looking at photographs of former faculty members, gym suits, yearbooks, scrapbooks, and other items from their time on campus. Materials from members of the Class of 1966 who were veterans were also on display.
Photos and other fun stuff from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives in the University Libraries.
You can also follow us on Twitter: @UNCGArchives!
Wow! - Did you know that today was #NationalShrimpScampiDay? The...
Fri, 29 Apr 2016 14:00:56 -0400
Tales from the University Archives at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Transforming Spring Garden Street
Mon, 25 Apr 2016 13:00:00 +0000
Upon arriving at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro campus, many visitors are struck by the long line of beautiful trees on Spring Garden Street. They might not realize that the tree-lined street, brick pavers, and manicured grounds are the result of a 1998 safety and beautification project. The project was envisioned to transform Spring Garden Street into an inviting “front door” to UNCG.
|Spring Garden Street c. 1897|
Throughout the school’s 125 year history, Spring Garden Street has served as an important traffic corridor that brought people to campus. At the college’s opening in 1892, the original administrative building and student dormitory all faced an unpaved street. By the early 1900s, Spring Garden Street was paved and trolley tracks were installed. As the school expanded during the following decades, more land was acquired and administrative buildings and dorms were built on both sides of the busy street. With the growth of the college and the city of Greensboro, the number of motor vehicles traveling on the street also increased.
By the 1990s, the University sought to transform the portion of Spring Garden Street (between Tate and Aycock Streets) that passed through the UNCG campus. Student and faculty safety was the motivation for the construction project. Lacking clear crosswalks, the News and Record newspaper reported that “pedestrians darted from between cars parked on both sides and dodged traffic to get across the street.”
|1993 Engineering Report|
A preliminary engineering report was issued in 1993, creating a “design character” that was of a pedestrian friendly “parkway.” Thus, the project’s goal was to slow traffic with a narrower roadway that was divided by a median. In addition, the renovation project would accommodate new bike lanes, brick crosswalks, and widened sidewalks. Street parking would no longer be allowed. The engineering report included the costs for: new roadways, curbs, and drains, electrical work for “decorative” street lights, and landscaping for the new median and along the sidewalks. UNCG and the City of Greensboro agreed to split the costs of the $3.2 million dollar project.
During the summer of 1997, Spring Garden Street was closed and construction work began. The renovation project would last for the next twelve months. The street closure did disrupt local businesses. The owner of Yum Yum Ice Cream noted that his walk-in business declined by twenty-five percent. Moreover, there were also a number of challenges with the landscaping portion of the project. A summer drought caused some of the newly planted trees to die and a significant summer storm toppled fifteen older established trees. Because of the continued drought and summer heat, the University would delay the planting of an additional ninety trees and shrubs until after the August 1998 reopening. Nevertheless, the project came in on budget and on time.
|Ceremonial Drive on Spring Garden Street|
On August 17, 1998, UNCG and the City of Greensboro commemorated the completion of the “Spring Garden Streetscape” project and the reopening of Spring Garden Street. At the corner of College Avenue and Spring Garden Street, a large celebration was held, with special remarks given by UNCG Chancellor Patricia Sullivan and Greensboro Mayor Carolyn Allen. The Greensboro City Council voted to bestow the honorary name of Lee Kinard Boulevard on the portion of Spring Garden Street between Tate and Aycock Streets. Kinard, a UNCG alumnus and a well-known television news anchor at WFMY-TV was asked to speak at the festivities. The event concluded with a traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony and a drive down the reopened street with Kinard chauffeuring the UNCG Chancellor and Greensboro Mayor in a red convertible.
UNCG's land of data releases, new data sources, fun stats information, and much more!
What's in There? Searching by Variable at ICPSR
Fri, 29 Apr 2016 16:27:00 +0000
Free webinar from ICPSR on Jun 14, 2016 at 12:00 PM EDT.
George Alter, Director of ICPSR, will demonstrate strategies for searching more than 4.5 million variable descriptions in ICPSR's Social Science Variables Database, including our new crosswalk between the American National Election Study and the General Social Survey.
The ICPSR Website allows users to search for variables singly or in groups. The "Compare Variables" feature brings up question text, frequencies, universe and other information, and all searches are linked to ICPSR's dynamic online codebooks.
The ICPSR variable search, supported by its thorough methods documentation, is an effective tool for those that are:
• Searching for data with particular questions/content for analysis (for research papers/publishing)
• Desiring to compare or harmonize data across projects
• Mining for questions to design research surveys and/or to teach survey design
--Including the demonstration of the effect of question wording and answer categories on variable distributions and the changes (evolution) in question wording/response categories over time
• Desiring to deposit research data for curation to enhance data discovery, increase research impact, and demonstrate that federal data sharing requirements have been met.
This webinar will benefit research scientists, teaching faculty, students, and those assisting these individuals.
This webinar is free and open to the public. Please share this invitation!
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Digital collections news from UNCG University Libraries
37089 and counting
Mon, 25 Apr 2016 18:37:00 +0000
Did you know that UNCG Digital Collections has contributed over 37,000 items to the Digital Public Library of America
If you're not using DPLA
, you should be. It's a tremendous resource that pulls together digital collections from all over the United States and makes them available in one easy-to-use interface.
You can also see materials arranged by location on a zoomable map
and via a timeline interface
. The DPLA also creates exhibits
on a regular basis, pulling together related items from different partner collections.
UNCG is proud to be part of this valuable resource.