IMG_5343

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!

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!

Sewell5

 

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.

Sewell7Sewell3

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

Sewell8

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:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 White Rabbit

alice-module2-aaiw1984Tenniel_4

I fear I shall too be late to turn in my final papers! Must dash!! Cheerio!!!

At last, finals week; the week we both long for (as a herald to winter break and relative peace), and dread ( don’t even ask how many papers I need to finish) is finally here. In the spirit of this hectic period, we shall follow the swift, zippy, speedy, breakneck, hasty, expeditious wee rabbit across the various landscapes of Wonderland. I am inspired by the words of Sherlock Holmes (played by Robert Downey Jr.), in the recent film version (2009),  ” My journey took me some what further down the rabbit hole than I intended and though I dirtied my fluffy white tail I have emerged, enlightened.”

When we first meet the nameless white rabbit, Alice is dozing, and in her state of reverie she follows him down to another world. Amusingly enough, Alice finds it rather unremarkable that he rushes by her, saying “Oh dear, Oh dear, I shall be too late”, but when he pulls a pocket watch from his waistcoat she can no longer be disinterested.

It is in the rabbit’s house that she finds one of the bottles that reads “Drink Me”, that changes her size so drastically. Accordingly, Alice soon becomes too large for the rabbit’s home, and frightens the dickens out of him.

Though she loses track of him for a while, Alice then runs into the rabbit again at the Queen’s croquet game, and he finally directly addresses Alice, though not as we would expect from their earlier meeting.

“It’s–It’s a very fine day!” said a timid voice at her side. She was walking by the White Rabbit, who was peeping anxiously into her face.” They speak about how the Duchess was under a sentence of execution for boxing the Queen’s ears, until the Queen scares them into focusing on the game at hand. The next time we see the rabbit is at the court proceedings, where he serves a herald to the court. With a trumpet in hand and a scroll in the other as he calls upon Alice as a witness to the proceedings.

What do you think of the White Rabbit?

Did You Know?

Lewis Carroll’s inspiration for the White Rabbit may have been Alice Liddell’s father, Dean Henry Liddell, who was known for running late to services at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford.

According to Lewis Carroll: “the White Rabbit should wear spectacles. I am sure his voice should quaver, and his knees quiver, and his whole air suggest a total inability to say “Bo” to a goose!”

Visit the Maryland Room gallery in Hornbake Library from October 2105-July 2016 to explore the White Rabbit 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.

 

The Alice 150 Years and Counting Online Exhibit is Here!

Alice-Postcard

The wait is over, Alice fans! You can now view the online exhibit for Alice 150 Years and Counting…The Legacy of Lewis Carroll!

All your favorite items from the exhbiit will be available for your viewing pleasure including items that won’t be on display in Hornbake Library until next year!

Alice exhibit website with an orange Chesire Cat in a tree on a beige background. Alice with a long neck is below the image on the right of the text about the site.

The site is mobile compatible so you can get your Alice 150 fix anywhere, at any place, at any time. You can learn more about Lewis Carroll while drinking your morning coffee, peruse the international Alice illustrated books as you wait for class to start, go beyond Wonderland to the world of Alice advertisements in between sandwich bites, and read up on the collectors of the exhibit, August and Clare Imholtz, while waiting for the bus.

Check out the online exhibit today!

Student Spotlight: Instruction & Outreach GA Edie Sandler

IMG_3915_1It is a leisurely summer weekend following my freshman year at UCLA, and I’ve got my fencing  gear packed in the back of my boyfriend’s 1986 Volvo, and four hours until practice. Just enough time to warrant spending 20-something dollars for a visitor’s ticket to the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA. The grounds are breathtaking and perfectly manicured; the reputation of its art collection peerless and the architecture of the library and museum impressive. But nothing compared to the moment I walked into the library and spotted the vault.  The vault door looks like something out of a bank, cracked open just far enough for the curious to get a glimpse inside.  I was hooked.

Years later, I am now married to the boyfriend with the 1986 Volvo, though the Volvo is long gone and I now live and work in the DC area. Though I miss being able to visit the Huntington Library, I am thrilled to be working as Graduate Assistant for Instruction and Outreach in Special Collections and University Archives at Hornbake Library, especially because it doesn’t cost me 20-something dollars to come to work every day. There might be a perception that the job of a librarian is boring and repetitive, but I can now confirm that that is not necessarily the case.

My main project has been the Alice 150 Years and Counting exhibit. The exhibit team and I began with a rough plan of how we wanted to organize the exhibit, which evolved into outreach and social media plans and a year-long timeline. Over the course of that year, I helped flesh out the details, working with my fellow co-curator, the collectors, the designer, and a team of library staff and student interns.  I learned how to use Photoshop to manipulate digitized images and design captions, signs and all kinds of ephemera. I edited caption, panel, and other text countless times. I compiled facts and quotes and scheduled them on social media, wrote blog posts, designed lobby screens, wrote a press release, and more. I used the phrase “fall down the rabbit hole” so many times, I thought I may have fallen down some kind of rabbit hole myself.

Was I relieved when the exhibit finally opened in October? A little. I felt like I understood a little bit better what it’s like to see your baby all grown up and going to college. But there is still work to be done with Alice. I’m working on getting the online exhibit up now, and soon a catalog will follow.

I also get to flex my teaching muscles as part of my GA-ship. I’ve worked closely with our Instruction and Outreach Coordinator to develop lesson plans and pull material for undergraduate classes who come to Hornbake to learn about what we do and how they can use our resources for their research. One of my favorite classes was a Shakespeare course that was interested in comparing early editions of Shakespeare. Watching the class get excited about early 17th and 18th century Shakespearean literature got my heart all a-flutter.

11-18-2015 5-47-29 PM

Every day of my job is different and I love it. I feel like a dragon sitting on a treasure trove of books, papers and other archival odds and ends. But in my story, I welcome the hero into my treasure-trove, where he finds all the other heroes of past journeys reading animatedly. That is what I believe is the responsibility of a Special Collections. Not only to allow people to come share in the treasure, but to reach out and show them that what we have and what we can do is priceless beyond measure.

 

Mad Hatter Running

Spotlight on Wonderland: The Hatter

alice-module2-aaiw1984Tenniel_28

Why is a raven like a writing desk? The Mad Hatter may not know, but asking nonsense questions is all part of the appeal of this quirky character. 150 years after he appeared in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, he is still loved for his maddening garden parties where it is always Tea Time.

How did Lewis Carroll come up with his Hatter? One inspiration could be that hat makers in the 19th century were known for going ‘mad’ from mercury poisoning, as mercury was commonly used in felt hat manufacturing.

Mad Hatter Running

Sir John Tenniel (the original illustrator of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) may have based his drawing of the Hatter after Theopilus Carter, an eccentric Oxford furniture dealer who always wore a top hat. Since Tenniel, countless illustrators and artists have created their own versions of the Hatter. Do you have a favorite?

Did you know?

  • The Mad Tea Party did not appear in the original Alice’s Adventures Under Ground. The never-ending tea party would not make its debut until a later edition of the tale.
  • Carroll never uses the name ‘Mad Hatter’. Instead, it is the Cheshire Cat who tells Alice that the Hatter and March Hare are “both mad.”
  • The Hatter reappears in Through the Looking Glass as ‘Hatta’.

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

Alice 150 Years and Counting Opening Reception

On Friday, October 16, 2015, the University of Maryland Libraries hosted the opening reception for the exhibition Alice 150 Years and Counting…The Legacy of Lewis Carroll: Selections from the Collection of August and Clare Imholtz.

Alice Postcard

Students, staff, Alice fans, bibliophiles, librarians, collectors, and the curious alike gathered in Hornbake Library to view the new exhibit and enjoy a night of frabjous festivities. A Cheshire Cat and Mad Hatter were even spotted among the crowd. Testudo got into the Wonderland spirit, donning the Mad Hatter’s hat!

Tasty treats included The King of Hearts’ Mushroom Tarts, The Duchess’ Royal Tea Sandwiches, “Don’t Be Late!” Carrot Cake, and “Off with Her Head!” Red Velvet Ice Cream. Collectors August and Clare Imholtz and members of the Alice 150 exhibit team were on hand to delight guests with details of the exhibit.

Speakers included Interim Dean of the Libraries’ Dr. Babak Hamidzadeh, Associate Dean for Collection Strategies & Services, Dr. Daniel Mack, Head of Special Collections and University Archives, Doug McElrath, and private collector August Imholtz.

Visitors were encouraged to go on a White Rabbit scavenger hunt in the exhibit gallery, try their hand at a Lewis Carroll word puzzle, and go mad as a guest at the table in our Mad Tea Party Photobooth. Additional items from the exhibit, which will not be in the exhibit until next year, were also on display for guests to explore.

Visitors also had the chance to participate in the Libraries’ ‘Adopt a Book’ program and donate to help preserve a fragile item from our rare book collection. Among the books “adopted” were a set of  rare miniature children’s books from the Association for Childhood Education International collection housed in Special Collections and University Archives.

Did you miss the frabjous festivities? Or, perhaps you want to relive all the excitement!  Visit our Flicker gallery with images from the opening reception. And thank you to everyone who made the evening such a success!