History of the Book in Special Collections

We recently brought out treasures from our rare book and special collections stacks for a visiting History of the Book class from UMD’s iSchool. Many of the books on display represented a wide variety of illustrations, from early incunable woodcuts and the delicate wood engravings of Thomas Bewick to more modern lithography, aquatints, and engraving techniques.

Also on display were landmarks in literature, philosophy, and politics that showcase the changes in book production, marketing, and reception from the 16th century through the present day. Early works on display included French revolutionary pamphlets and philosophical works, such as our first edition Thomas Hobbes Leviathan, printed in 1651The rise of the modern paperback novel were represented by early editions of Harriet Beecher Stowe,  Ernest Hemingway, and James Joyce. The two artists books by Werner Pfeiffer, Out of the Sky (2006) and Alphebeticum (2006) are wonderful examples of how modern artists use typography and construction to push the envelope of how we experience books.

Browse our rare book collections online or contact a librarian for more information.

Army ROTC at UMD: 100 Years of Leadership

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Army ROTC, the University Archives, in collaboration with the Terrapin Battalion, present an exhibit tracing the history of the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) on campus.

On June 3, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Defense Act, creating the Army ROTC. Instruction in Military Science at the University of Maryland (UMD) began at least as early as 1868, but the introduction of ROTC saw the birth of a program that produced Army officers during both World Wars. Army ROTC returned to UMD in 2003, 53 years after its departure in 1950, and resumed its place in the campus community. Today, the battalion is 100 cadets strong.IMG_0464.JPG

These objects and documents can only briefly testify to Army ROTC’s impact over the past 100 years by highlighting leadership development courses, collegiate teams, campus events, and notable alumni like Ralph Davis, the ROTC cadet who wrote the UMD fight song.

Visit the exhibit in Hornbake Library’s Maryland Room throughout the month of August. Learn more about the Army ROTC at the University of Maryland by visiting armyrotc.umd.edu.

Join us for a Labor History Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon in Hornbake Library

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Join a community interested in promoting labor history by editing the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Part celebration and part workshop, Edit-a-Thons are organized around a single topic as a means to build awareness and community. We’ll draw content from labor-related collections at the University of Maryland, including the AFL-CIO Archives. No editing experience necessary, however participants should have basic computer skills. All participants will receive complimentary issues of Labor’s Heritage journal.

Happy Thanksgiving from Special Collections

Celebrate Thanksgiving with turkeys from Special Collections! Visit the Maryland Room to explore our collections when we re-open on Monday, November 30 at 10am.

 

Frederick Douglass Celebrated

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This week Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) continues the spotlight on Frederick Douglass, prominent Marylander and social reformer. Visit Hornbake Library to view new exhibits on display in conjunction with the dedication of the new Frederick Douglass plaza just outside Hornbake Library at the University of Maryland.

The new Frederick Douglass plaza is located just steps away from the reading room for Special Collections and University Archives, where students can discover primary sources on his life and times. And there is lots more to explore in Hornbake Library this week!

A new exhibit, Frederick Douglass in Special Collections, features items from our rare books collection, historic manuscripts, and Maryland collection, including Douglass’ autobiographies and more.

Visitors can also walk though the 1st floor lobby to explore a panel exhibit on the life, scholarship, and legacy of Frederick Douglass.

Visit the Maryland Room to view artifacts from Wye House in Maryland, from the Archaeology in Annapolis project, a partnership between the Department of Anthropology at the University of Maryland and Historic Annapolis Foundation.

Also on display is a new acquisition to our Maryland Manuscripts collection- a general store ledger from Wye Landing, Maryland dated 1809-1812. It is an intriguing primary source on commerce and the role of African-Americans in the area, detailing items purchased and their prices, including notations indicating items purchased by slaves/servants for their masters.

It all leads up to the Frederick Douglass Plaza dedication on Wednesday, November 18, 2015. Join us to celebrate the arrival of this inspirational Marylander and his ongoing legacy at the University of Maryland.

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New Exhibit: Recent Acquisitions to the Association for Childhood Education International Archives

Stop by the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library and take a look at some of the new items on display!

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The Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) exhibit is sure to recall fond childhood memories, from books like The Tale of Peter Rabbit, dolls from around the world, and all kinds of puzzles and toys. The highlight is every young girl’s dream – a 19th century doll’s trunk, complete with a collection of handmade clothes and accessories. But be careful what you say in front of the wax doll from 1885 – she’s enduring, and maybe a little frightening in the dark!

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But the ACEI archives has even more to offer than cursed dolls and lost childhood dreams. The Association for Childhood Education International was founded in 1892 to promote early childhood education and its collection includes a variety of potential resources for research. Whether you’re looking at the history of common issues in education such as classroom diversity, multicultural education, social development, or the role of technology in education, you will find a varied collection of books, archival material, journals and publications, audiovisual tapes, recordings and cassettes, as well as a wide array of memorabilia like the ones on display.

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On your quest to demystify the virtues and struggles of childhood, you might listen to recorded speeches by the well-known critic Neil Postman, read out-of-print children’s books, research articles and publications on popular issues in education, admire dolls and toys from all over the world, or tune in to Macaroni at Midnight. You’ll find it all available for research in the Maryland Room.

Take a look at the ACEI archives finding aid to explore the collection, or contact a curator to find out more!

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The Early Printing Collection: An Introduction

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A page from the Cologne Chronicle, printed by Johannes Koelhoff the Younger in 1499.

A new (very old!) collection of early printing has now been processed and digitized, and is available in the Digital Collections or by request in person in the Maryland Room. The Early Printing Collection is a set of thirty-six leaves and pages that were printed in Europe in the late 15th century. It includes printed pages from many well-known works, including the The Nuremberg Chronicle, Historia Scholastica and The Cologne Chronicle.

Incunabula

Typographical printing done before 1501 in Europe is often called Incunabula, a funny pseudo-Latin phrase that refers to the birth of printing in the 15th century. The 15th century saw important advances in the movable type printing press thanks to Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press invented around 1450. The Gutenberg Bible is the first (and probably most famous) book printed using movable type, and while you won’t find any of its pages in the Early Printing Collection, the collection does feature many other pages from Bibles and other religious and historical chronicles printed around the same time period. Within the collection the printing itself is generally clear and easy to read — that is, if you understand Latin or Middle German!

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A page of Genesis from Historia Scholastica is covered in paste marks

Early Printing History

Even though the leaves are over 500 years old, the collection is in relatively good condition and provides excellent examples of early printing history, from paper-making to moveable type setting to woodblock printing. Many of the leaves were printer’s proof sheets or scraps, but since paper was still a relatively valuable commodity at the time, these scrap pages were recycled and used in book-binding. They’ve since been removed from bindings, but many still bear marks from the old binding paste. Looking more closely at the leaves in the collection, you can find examples of mould-made papers with visible chain lines and laid lines that indicate how the paper was made by hand using a wire mesh screen. Watermarks, the designs and images found in laid paper, can also be seen on some of the leaves, especially those from the Nuremberg Chronicle. Most of the printing is done in a Gothic typeface, also called Blackletter, though there are a few examples of roman type as well. There are leaves from several important printers from the time period, including Günther Zainer from Augsburg, Konrad Dinckmut from Ulm, and Johann Koelhoff The Younger of Cologne. As for the context, most of the leaves are from religious texts like bibles, psalters, and books of hours, while a few of the leaves come from historical and legal texts.

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An unidentified fragment of a Missal is hand-initialed and rubricated in red ink.

Explore the Collection in the Classroom

The Early Printing Collection has many potential applications for undergraduate and graduate courses on campus. Courses in departments like English, History, Art History, Art Studio, Library Science, and others can utilize the collection to study firsthand the history of printing, typography design, and rare books. Plus, with thirty-six separate folios of leave, there are enough examples for students to work individually or in small groups to closely examine the details of the page and learn about early printing firsthand.