Gordon W. Prange Collection

The University of Maryland Libraries join the UMD campus and the international community in commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. Film screenings, competitions, performances, workshops, and exhibitions are taking place across campus as part of Shakespeare@UMD.  Special Collections & University Archives is exhibiting a second folio of the collected works of Shakespeare, printed in 1632, as well as several illustrated editions of Shakespeare’s plays.

Below is a sample of  Shakespeare-related materials in the Prange Collection, including translations used in textbooks, translations of movie scripts, a children’s book, and magazine articles.

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Carrollians are Coming to Hornbake Library!

RabbitLogoSmRVisit Hornbake Library this Friday and Saturday for a series of talks from the Lewis Carroll Society of North America discussing all things Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland! The society has a diverse membership of collectors, scholars, Carroll enthusiasts, and Alice fans alike. See below for the two day schedule. Talks are free and open to the public.

While you are in here, be sure to visit the Alice 150 Years and Counting…The Legacy of Lewis Caroll exhibit, currently on display in the Maryland Room exhibit gallery in the 1st floor lobby.

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Friday, April 15

3:30pm-5pm Hornbake Library, Room 0302J

Wendy Crandall- “A Collector’s Profile”

Matt Crandall- “Alice in Disney-Land”

Catherine Richards- “Having A Lovely Time, Wish You Were Here”


Saturday, April 16

Morning Session 

10am-12pm Hornbake Library, Room 0302J

Welcoming Remarks

Ellen Schaefer-Salins- “Psychological Theories Named From the Works of Lewis Carroll”

Diane Waggoner- “Lewis Carroll’s Fancy Dress Photographs: Theater and Theatricality”


Afternoon Session 1

1:30pm-3:15pm Hornbake Library, Room 0302J

Michael Dirda

Eva Salins- Song: “Alice’s Dream”

Tatiana Ianovskaia and Oleg Lipchenko: “Two Outstanding Illustrators Interviewed by August Imholtz


Afternoon Session 2

3:30pm-5pm, Hornbake Library, Room 0302J

Chuck Howell- Dramatic Readings of “Jabberwocky” and “The Walrus and the Carpenter”

George Walker- “Illustrating Alice: Celebrating 150 Years of Artists who have Brought Carroll’s Story to Life”

Victor Fet- “Forty Russian Snarks or Boojums”

Women in the Book Trade

While we normally think that women were not allowed to participate in skilled crafts in early America, the book trades appear to have been an exception.  In colonial and revolutionary Maryland, both Anna Catherine Green of Annapolis and Mary Katherine Goddard of Baltimore were printers who oversaw the complicated processes associated with the production and distribution of printed information in the form of books, newspapers, political broadsides, pamphlets, almanacs, and various types of printed ephemera such as forms, tickets, and advertisements.  After 1800, fewer women operated as independent printers, which was an indication of changing social norms for the role of women and a changing economy that concentrated power in the hands of a few publishers.  However, women continued to participate in some aspects of the book trades, specifically type founding and book binding.  The casting, sorting and packaging of tiny pieces of lead type for printing required patience, a steady hand, and attention to detail.  Similarly, sewing the gatherings of leaves that formed books, required great manual dexterity.  Many woman had the basic eye-hand coordination required in these trades, because sewing, embroidering and other needle skills were expected activities for young females.

A recent gift to the Rare Books Collection in the University of Maryland Libraries is confirmation of women’s continued participation in the book trades.  Published in Philadelphia in 1837, the Panorama of Professions is essentially a textbook that introduced school children to the common trades of Jacksonian America.   Readers got a brief description of each trade, including an engraved illustration.  Teachers using this text also could assign students to answer the test questions for each section, located in the back of the book.  The images for the type founders and bookbinders show men and women at different aspects of the work.  Men are doing the more dangerous work of pouring hot lead to cast the individual pieces of type, while women are assigned the post-production processing activities.  Men associated with bookbinding are shown rounding the text block, attaching the boards, and preparing the leather covers; while woman are sitting at the sewing frames assembling the loose sheets into actual books.

Since primary education in America mostly was coeducational even in the early 19th century, one can assume that these images were meant to show that a young girl could aspire to a profession.  By including women as paid employees in a type foundry or bookbindery, the author and publisher of the Panorama of Professions preserved evidence that women had some opportunities as independent economic actors.  Both trades likely were considered preferable to service jobs or working in the dangerous textile mills that were at the vanguard of the Industrial Revolution.  This revolution eventually spelled the end of manual crafts such as bookbinding and type founding, and with it, the opportunities those professions had for women.

Doug McElrath is the acting head of Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Maryland. He has had a long term interest in the history of the book in Maryland.


The Lewis Carroll Society of North America is Coming to Hornbake!

RabbitLogoSmRA one-of-a-kind event is coming to Special Collections and University Archives and all are invited to attend! The Lewis Carroll Society of North America will be holding their Spring Meeting in April, with a series of talks taking place here at Hornbake library on April 15th and 16th.

This will be a rare opportunity to meet several of the illustrators featured in our exhibit Alice 150 and Counting…Selections from the Collection of Clare and August Imholtzas well as the collectors themselves. Hear about how George Walker, Oleg Lipchenko, and Tatiana Ianovskaia and other artists bring Lewis Carroll’s story to life, then discover their Alice illustrations as you tour the exhibit. Listen to an Alice song by Eva Salins or a dramatic reading of “Jabberwocky” and “The Walrus and the Carpenter”. Speakers will discuss all things Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland during the two day conference, including topics like photography, Disney, fashion, psychology, and much more. Lectures will take place in Hornbake Library on the afternoon of Friday, April 15 and throughout the day on Saturday, April 16.

Additional items not currently featured in the exhibit will also be display for the frabjous festivities. A special exhibit is also on display featuring John Tenniel’s illustrations from Punch Magazine. John Tenniel, who illustrated both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, was well known for his work in the popular British political and satirical magazine. Throughout the years, Alice and the other Wonderland characters find their way into political commentary on parliament, international affairs, and domestic policies.

This event is open to the public. View the full program and registration information herePlease register by April 5.

See you in Wonderland!


KAP to Moore 1960-05-17

Women in the Archive

One of the best things about working in an archive is the sense of discovery. Right now, I have five boxes on my desk getting ready to be digitized, to make their debut if you will. They all look rather unassuming but shouldn’t be underestimated.

As a graduate student in literature, I spend most of my time thinking about the voices that historically have been rendered silent, barely intelligible. Currently the voice belongs to Katherine Philips, a female poet whose collected works were first printed in an unauthorized edition in 1664. I’m especially interested in reading the undercurrent of homoerotic desires in her poems, which means I’m reading for what is not said. Often, I have to search for what is illicit, unspeakable, and private–essentially what is left out. The secret joy of this work is discovering the voices of women whose rhetoric implied desires that could not be acknowledged or accounted for during their lifetimes. There is something particularly satisfying in creating an account of the unsaid, after all.

But, cumulatively there is a problem: women have occupied influential political and cultural in public spaces, but their histories have remained most alive in the “private” realm of letters and correspondence, buried in organizational records where they are subsumed into larger “genderless” structures of industries and social/political complexes.

That is why I love spending my time with these scraps and remnants–pieces of letters, correspondence, old files–these remnants speak to the many different accounts of history. In the five slender boxes on my desk, I have the thousands of pages of the private correspondence of another Katherine: American novelist, Pulitzer-Prize winner, and National Book Award winner Katherine Anne Porter. Those five boxes contain a powerhouse.

But, even Porter faced some difficulties of being a woman in a male dominated field. In 1946, Porter wrote to Josephine Herbst, another women novelist that, “the ‘serious’ boys are all snobs and all moved by fashion as much as the run of the mill writer.” Porter’s own desires and ambitions pressed her to work despite the challenges she faced as a woman and an outsider. Her correspondence reveals the lengths to which she would go to work, how she would run herself ragged, sick, and poor if she could get a quiet space and a typewriter. For all this, I am most moved by the private letters passed between her and other women.

My desk is littered with post-it notes quotes: to Marianne Moore in May 1960, “But my dear felicitous phenomenon, you are a dragon, has it been left to me to tell you?,” and Moore’s reply, “it is up to you to imagine a felicitous top to my dragon, in other words to make it a unicorn” or to Flannery O’Connor on April 6 1958: “Dear Flannery: I’ll never forget you standing there in the new spring landscape, watching your peacocks coming towards you…such a smiling pleased look in your eyes, it did me good to see it.”

KAP to Moore 1960-05-17KAP to OConnor 1958-04-06

These women are heavyweights of American Modernism whose works eviscerate our ideas of what it meant to be and to be an American in the first half of the 19th century, and in these five boxes are the remnants of what they thought of each other. This summer my “felicitous phenomena,” my “dragons,” will no longer be cooped up on my desk: soon they will all be available online. Our private little scraps will get to join those “serious” projects. The secret will be out of the box.

Caitlin Rizzo is a second year Masters student in the University of Maryland (UMD) Department of English and a Graduate Assistant for Research and Collection Services at UMD’s Special Collections and University Archives. She will begin her Masters in Library Science with the iSchool in Fall 2016.”

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Alice 150 Years and Counting Goes Mad!

Alice 150 Years and Counting…The Legacy of Lewis Carroll celebrates March Madness in true Wonderland-fashion!

Visit the Alice 150 exhibit in Hornbake Library and you will discover the books in our Alice Illustrated Around the World cases have magically turned to showcase illustrations from the Mad Tea Party for the month of March. See the Hatter, March Hare, and the Dormouse infuriate and confound a curious Alice when she stumbles into their never-ending tea party in Wonderland. Since John Tenniel’s original illustrations appeared in 1865, artists from around the world have applied their unique style to this infamous scene. Explore the exhibit to find your favorite!

Did You Know

  • The March Hare is the host of the Mad Tea Party. In many illustrations, you can see his house in the background, complete with rabbit ear chimneys.
  • The Mad Tea Party did not originally appear in Lewis Carroll’s manuscript Alice’s Adventures Underground. The chapter was added later to the story.
  • As for the Hatter’s famous riddle, “Why is a raven like a writing desk?”, Carroll wrote:

Enquiries have been so often addressed to me, as to whether any answer to the Hatter’s Riddle can be imagined, that I may as well put on record here what seems to be to be fairly appropriate answer, viz: “Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat; and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front!” This however, is merely an afterthought; the Riddle, as originally invented, had no answer at all.

Can’t get enough madness? Visit the online exhibit to explore more Alice in Wonderland illustrations from around the world.

Alice 150 Featured Item of the Month: March

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 March, visit the Maryland Room Exhibit Gallery in Hornbake Library to view Tea With Alice: A World of Wonderland Illustration, a bilingual (Portuguese and English) catalog of Oxford Story Museum’s 2013 exhibition curated by Ju Godinho and Eduardo Filipe.

The portfolio features illustrations from Alice in Wonderland reinvisioned by 21 artists from around the world. Many of the drawings have not been published elsewhere such as Lisa Nanni’s White Rabbit’s House and Lucie Laroche’s Miro-esque tea party.

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