1. uwmspeccoll:

    This week’s staff pick is by Lee. Wisconsin loves libraries, and we always have.  Wisconsin had a library even before it became a state; the Wisconsin territorial legislature allotted $5,000 for a library in 1833, which is the equivalent of $140,000 today! (A bigger budget than some public libraries now.) With many of Wisconsin’s residents living in rural areas, it was, and still can be, a challenge to keep materials up-to-date and relevant.  

    Enter the Free Traveling Libraries in Wisconsin.  This week’s pick is an informational pamphlet on the benefits of these libraries in 1897.  The idea was to move books from library to library so that people can keep coming back for new books. Some of these libraries had their own buildings, but many were just a cabinet in a public building or in people’s homes. If this description or some of the pictures remind you of the current Little Free Library movement, it is not a coincidence.  The Little Free Library website, which began in Wisconsin, cites Lutie Stearns, the first Secretary of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission, and her “traveling little libraries” as an inspiration. 

    See it in the catalog here


  2. "Throughout Bosnia, libraries, archives, museums and cultural institutions have been targeted for destruction, in an attempt to eliminate the material evidence—books, documents, and works of art—that could remind future generations that people of different ethnic and religious traditions once shared a common heritage in Bosnia … While the destruction of a community’s institutions and records is, in the first instance, part of a strategy of intimidation aimed at driving out members of the targeted group, it also serves a long-term goal. These records were proof that non-Serbs once resided and owned property in that place, that they had historical roots there. By burning the documents, by razing mosques and Catholic churches and bull-dozing the graveyards, the nationalist forces who have now taken over these towns and villages are trying to insure themselves against any future claims by the people they have driven out and dispossessed."
    — Andras Riedlmayer, as quoted in Understanding Archives and Manuscripts (2006) by Richard J. Cox and James M. O’Toole (via pupsandhats)
  3. Shakespeare’s handwriting and why it matters

    Studying ancient handwriting is a fascinating thing. To know that the oddly-shaped letters on the page were put there hundreds of years ago by an individual with a life, passions and things to do, can be sensational. Sometimes such ancient handwritten notes can teach us really important things. The page above was written by no other than William Shakespeare. A scholar in Texas compared the document to a handwritten addition in a copy of Thomas Kyd’s play Spanish Tragedy. And what turned out to be the case? The handwriting in the image above is the same as in the added text in Kyd’s play. Moreover, the two share the same spelling pattern. Ergo, the two were written by the same individual - Shakespeare. The newly identified “text” by Shakespeare (an addition of several hundreds of verses) will be included in The Bard’s new addition. It’s extremely satisfying to an expert of old script (as I am) that letter shapes proved vital for this important discovery.

    Read all about it in this NYT article.

    (Source: erikkwakkel, via bremertonrarebks)

  4. via innerbohemienne:

    The Codex Gigas

    The Codex Gigas (or ‘Giant Book”) is also known as “The Devil’s Bible.” A curious illustration of Lucifer gives the tome its nickname.

    The 13th-century manuscript is thought to have been created solely by a Herman the Recluse, a monk of the Benedictine monastery of Podlažice near Chrudim in Czech Republic. The calligraphy style is amazingly uniform throughout, believed to have taken 25 to 30 years  of work. There are no notable mistakes or omissions.  Pigment analysis revealed the ink to be consistent throughout. The book is enormous - it  measures 36.2” tall, 19.3” wide, and 8.6” thick; it weighs approximately 165 pounds. There are 310 vellum  leaves (620 pages).  The leaves are bound in a wooden folder covered with leather and ornate metal.

    The manuscript is elaborately illuminated in red, blue, yellow, green and gold.  The entire document is written in Latin, and also contains Hebrew, Greek, and Slavic Cyrillic and Glagolitic alphabets. The first part of the text includes the Vulgate version of the Bible.  Between the Old and New Testaments are Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews and De bello iudaico, as well as Isidore of Seville's encyclopedia Etymologiae and medical works of Hippocrates, Theophilus, Philaretus, and Constantinus.  Following a blank page, the New Testament commences.

    Beginning the second part is a depiction of the devil.  Directly opposite is a full picture of the kingdom of heaven, juxtaposing the “good versus evil.”  The second half, following the picture of the devil, is Cosmas of Prague's Chronicle of Bohemia.  A list of brothers in the Podlažice monastery and a calendar with necrologium, magic formulae and other local records round out the codex.  Record entries end in the year 1229CE.

    In 1648 at the end of the Thirty Years’ War, the Swedish army invaded Prague and the Codex was stolen as plunder.  It is now held at the National Library of Sweden in Stockholm.  For more information, check out this short National Geographic documentary and/or flip through this digital copy.

    ( Wikipedia entry, et. al)

    Several short National Geographic videos ~

    One Helluva Book

    Who Wrote The Devil’s Bible?

    Super-human Scribe

    The Devil’s Bible - Part 1.flv  (9:59) (derived from full video bleow)

    The Devil’s Bible - Part 2.flv  (9:59) (derived from full video below)

    ** If you have the least amount of intellectual curiosity or interest in history, the short vids above will only whet your appetite: might as well grab a cold drink & some popcorn, then settle in to watch the whole thing ~

    NatGeo : The Devil’s Bible - Full video  (44:58)

    (Source: bhilluminated.wordpress.com, via txescu)


  5. July 12, 2014 marked the passing of an extraordinary librarian, Zoia Horn. Ms. Horn was best known in library circles for spending three weeks in jail in 1972 for having refused to testify before a grand jury regarding information relating to Phillip Berrigan’s library use.

  6. classicladiesofcolor:

    Anna May Wong's Certificate of Identity, August 18, 1924, National Archives at San Francisco.

    She was born Wong Liu Tsong in 1905 in Los Angeles to a Cantonese-American family that had lived in America since at least 1855. However, being an American didn’t matter in a time when people of Chinese descent were being heavily legislated against. Beginning in 1909, any people of Chinese descent entering or residing in the US, regardless of the country of their birth, had to carry a Certificate of Identity with them at all times. Even at the peak of her fame, Wong still had to carry papers like the one above to prove she was allowed to be here. Read the rest of the article.

    (via labelleboheme)

  7. hollybailey:

    NYC Subway, 1946 by Louis Stettner

    (via dulcimeh)

  8. boonelibrary:


    Have you ever seen over 2,000 library cards at once? It’s a pretty impressive sight.

    And here I was, happy with my 10+ cards. Gotta up my game.

  9. hungryghoast:

    Hong Kong Martial Arts Living Archive.

    cool idea. And i saw Sifu Lee Kong of Wing Tsun White Crane in there, awesome!

  10. ransomcenter:

    Scholar explores director Brian de Palma’s connections in archives of Robert De Niro, David Mamet, and Paul Schrader.