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New Exhibit: The AFL-CIO Merger

The AFL-CIO, America’s largest federation of trade unions, represents over 12.5 million workers. Before 1955, the AFL (American Federation of Labor) and the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations) were separate, competing organizations. The two organizations chose to merge in 1955 in order to strengthen the labor movement and eliminate competition between different unions and workers. This mini-exhibit, on display in the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library, tells the story from the formation of the joint Unity Committee to the December 5, 1955 merger in commemoration of AFL-CIO’s 60th anniversary.

In 2013, the AFL-CIO gifted UMD their entire archive, over 6 miles of documents. The documents, photos, and artifacts on display are all from the AFL-CIO collection. To learn more about what’s in the AFL-CIO collection, go online to go.umd.edu/laborarchives or contact us.

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Spotlight on Wonderland: The Mouse

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Have you ever listened to someone talk endlessly on a boring topic, only to have them storm off when they caught you daydreaming? Then you have an idea of what was in store for Alice when she encountered the Mouse in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

The Mouse is the first character Alice speaks to in Wonderland. After crying a pool of tears (thanks to her enourmous height) , she suddenly finds herself shrunk down, wishing she hadn’t cried so much. To her amusement, she finds the Mouse splashing about nearby and desperately tries to get its attention. She reasons it must be a French mouse, finally callling out “Ou est ma chatte?” [Where is my Cat?], the only French phrase she remembers. Startled and offended, the agitated Mouse informs Alice of its family’s hatred of cats, ultimately swimming away in disgust.

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Once on land, the Mouse tries to dry off all the creatures who fell into Alice’s tears with a dry lecture on William the Conqueror. The mouse is repeatedly annoyed by interruptions from the crowd, but resolved to continue his lecture. That is, until the Dodo suggests a more energetic method of drying off- a caucus race, much to the relief of the bored audience.

“Ahem!” said the Mouse with an important air, “are you all ready? This is the driest thing I know. Silence all round, if you please! “William the Conqueror, whose cause was favoured by the pope, was soon submitted to by the English, who wanted leaders, and had been of late much accustomed to usurpation and conquest. Edwin and Morcar, the earls of Mercia and Northumbria–“”

“Ugh!” said the Lory, with a shiver.

Perhaps you should think of Carroll’s clever (and long-winded) Mouse the next time you are sitting in a lecture hall on a rainy day!

Did you know?

  • Carroll was a master of wordplay. When the Mouse tells his long tale to Alice about why it hates cats, the text on the page is written in the shape of a mouse’s tail. This is an example of concrete poetry.
  • Alice repeatedly upsets the Mouse and other caucus race creatures when she talks about her cat Dinah, who is “such a capital one for catching mice.” Alice Liddell, the girl who inspired Carroll’s tale, was also fond of her family’s two cats – one of which was named Dinah.

Visit the Maryland Room gallery in Hornbake Library from October 2105-July 2016 to explore the Mouse and the rest of the Wonderland cast of characters in the exhibit Alice 150 Years and County…The Legacy of Lewis Carroll: Selections from the Collection of August and Clare Imholtz.

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New Alice 150 Items on Display!

A new year means new items in the Alice 150 Years and Counting…The Legacy of Lewis Carroll exhibit!

We’ve been hard at work turning pages in the variety of Alice in Wonderland books on display, so visitors can explore new characters and scenes from Lewis Carroll’s classic tale.

We’ve also changed out some of the items in our exhibit cases. New items include illustrated books, parodies, and ephemera. Among our new favorites are a reimagining of Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” poem, in which the Jabberwock is a towering king of an urban basketball court, and “Alice in Watergateland”, a comic that follows Alice as she chases the White Rabbit (Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox) into the maddening world of the Watergate scandal.

Visit the Maryland Room gallery in Hornbake Library and discover the new additions to the exhibit. Is your favorite item no longer on display? Explore the online exhibit to view all the exhibit items in Alice 150 Years and Counting…The Legacy of Lewis Carroll!

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Alice 150 Featured Object of the Month: February

Alice 150 Years and Counting…The Legacy of Lewis Carroll: Selections from the Collection of August and Clare Imholtz, is an exhibit highlighting the timelessness of Alice in Wonderland and the life and work of Lewis Carroll (1832-1898). Each month, a new item from the exhibit will be showcased.

In February, visit the Maryland Room Exhibit Gallery in Hornbake Library to view Alice-inspired humorous presidential pamphlets featuring Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt.

Through the Outlooking Glass with Theodore Roosevelt is a political commentary on Theodore Roosevelt’s attempt at a third term as a Progressive party candidate. Written in the form of a parody of Through the Looking Glass, the story consists of a dialogue between Alice and the hostile Red Knight (Roosevelt).

Frankie in Wonderland, written anonymously by investment banker, lampoons President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal in eight short chapters based on both Alice books

View all the featured items of the month from Alice 150 Years and Counting…The Legacy of Lewis Carroll here.

Curator Pick: Favorite Item from the Alice 150 Exhibit

How could I possibly choose one item out of so many amazing ones as my favorite?! Early on, I digitized the majority of the items that are in the exhibit, allowing me time to really look through every book as I scanned it. Needless to say, I have quite a few favorites! In order for me to dwindle my list down to one, I focused on one criteria: what was the book that made me completely stop what I was doing because it was so curious? For me, that is my lasting impression of Alice from my childhood, and why I still relate to Carroll’s story as an adult.  Alice’s curiosity, the curiosity of the characters and the world that is Wonderland continues to draw people back time and time again.

My favorite would have to be Alitjinya ngura Tjukurtjarangka [Alitji in the Dreamtime], illustrated by Byron W. Sewell. I was incredibly surprised when I first picked it up to find the White Rabbit was a kangaroo!

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This was definitely one the cleverest re-imaginings of the Alice characters that I had encountered and stood on its own as a story that illustrated Wonderland in a different culture so well. Sewell’s illustrations are at once similar and arrestingly different than the traditional Alice. His characters are often ethereal, but when he does have them grounded, he depicts the earth with geometric patterns.

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Note how realistic Alice looks, but how drastically altered the rest of the characters are depicted.

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This is also a bilingual edition, translated into Pitjantjatjara and adapted into Australian English. I enjoy editions with this added factor because it reaches a whole new audience and easily teaches them a little something that could lead to something more. This item is the epitome of what this exhibit aims to represent and why I always include it as an example when I’m describing the exhibit to others.

Honorable mentions [this was inevitable!]:
1. Sakuba‘s intense and instantly classic characters:

2. Rackham‘s muted color scheme and Wonderlandians’ long, spindly features:

3. Kállay‘s warm colors and delightful tea party:

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For your listening enjoyment:

Explore this item and more works by Lewis Carroll in our Alice 150 Years and Counting exhibit, now open to the public in Hornbake Library at the University of Maryland.


Brin Winterbottom is a graduate student at the University of Maryland iSchool. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. She currently works in Hornbake’s Digital Conversion Media Reformatting Center and is conducting her field study with the Alice exhibit team. 

Spotlight on Wonderland: The Mock Turtle

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Winter’s bitter cold is here, the skies are dark and gloomy, what could possibly be more miserable? Answer: the mock turtle. Our unusual friend has the monopoly on melancholy, or so it seems, as he is rarely ever seen not weeping bitterly and bemoaning his sad state.   His distress is due to the fact that once upon a time, he was a real turtle. But unfortunately when Alice meets him, he is a rather unsightly mixture of a calf’s head, tail, and hooves, with the shell of a turtle.

Before Alice is introduced to him, the Queen of Hearts asks:

“Have you seen the mock turtle yet?”

“No,” said Alice. “I don’t even know what a mock turtle is.”

“It’s the thing Mock Turtle Soup is made from,” said the Queen.”

And what is mock turtle soup supposed to be?  Mock turtle soup was a popular dish in the 18th and 19th century. It is an inexpensive imitation of green turtle soup. Recipes usually call for calf brains, head, organs, and/or hooves to replicate the texture of turtle meat. (Eww.) Though it may be the dead of winter and soup sounds quite warm and comforting, even I cannot stomach the idea of this particular dish.

The Mock Turtle is known for constantly weeping, sighing deeply, and pausing dramatically while telling the story of his early life as a real turtle. He frequently speaks in puns. Particularly amusing is his litany of courses he took while still in school.  Some mentioned are “Reeling and writhing,” and “the different branches of arithmetic- Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.” An example of Lewis Carroll’s clever wordplay in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. 

Would you rather encounter a depressed Mock Turtle or a stark raving mad Hatter in Wonderland?

Did you Know:

  • In Tenniel’s illustration, the Mock Turtle’s body is composed of the ingredients that go into a typical mock turtle soup recipe.

Visit the Maryland Room gallery in Hornbake Library from October 2105-July 2016 to explore the mock turtle and the rest of the Wonderland cast of characters in the exhibit Alice 150 Years and County…The Legacy of Lewis Carroll: Selections from the Collection of August and Clare Imholtz.

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Alice 150 Featured Item of the Month: January

Alice 150 Years and Counting…The Legacy of Lewis Carroll: Selections from the Collection of August and Clare Imholtz, an exhibit highlighting the timelessness of Alice in Wonderland and the life and work of Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), will showcase a new Alice related item every month.

In January, visit the Maryland Room Exhibit Gallery in Hornbake Library to view Scientific Alician, a brilliant parody of the esteemed Scientific American magazine. Contents include Alice themed articles, plus the usual departments of Letters, Mathematical Games, advertisements, and Author notes- all parodied in Alice in Wonderland fashion.

View all the featured items of the month from Alice 150 Years and Counting…The Legacy of Lewis Carroll.