A Look Back at 2016

With 2017 right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to reminisce on all the happenings that shaped Special Collections and University Archives in 2015!

We’ve posted stories on new acquisitionsexhibits and events like Alice 150 and Maryland Day, and also UMD class visits to Special Collections and University Archives.

Take a trip back in the year with the top 10 blog posts with the most views in 2016:

  1. Heavy Metal Parking Lot and the Jeff Krulik Collection
  2. Explore ‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot’ at UMD!
  3. AFL-CIO Merger
  4. 130 Years of Progress: The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, 1886-2016
  5. LGBT Advocacy and the AFL-CIO
  6. AFL-CIO Artifact Project: Summer 2016
  7. Spotlight on Wonderland: The March Hare
  8. Minikins Miss Dot Sr. and Miss Dot Jr. Return to Campus after a Half-Century
  9. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Speech to AFL-CIO
  10. Spotlight on Wonderland: The Dormouse

Here’s a shout out to posts that were published in previous years, but still rank among our most viewed posts this year:

  1. William Morris, Walter Crane, and Socialist Art
  2. Books Published Before 1850
  3. Featured Novelist from Special Collections: Ferdinand Reyher
  4. Achievements and Milestones in UMD Athletics
  5. Edgar Allan Poe in Special Collections

Is there something you want to learn about Special Collections and University Archives in 2017? Let us know in the comments!

William Morris and W. A. Dwiggins: The Art of Book Design

Our Literature and Rare Book currators recently hosted a talented class of UMD art students studying typography and book design.What better way to illustrate the meticulous work of designing letters and page layouts than giving them opportunity to examine books from our William Morris and W. A. Dwiggins collections!


kelmscottWilliam Morris (1834-1896) founded the Kelmscott Press in 1891. He was already well know as an artist and author in England, as well as an avid socialist. His decorative arts firm Morris & Co. produced textiles, furniture, and stained glass to for decades before he ventured into book design. Towards the end of his life, he set out to create books that reflected his notion of an “ideal book”.  He criticized the ugly, machine-made books of industrialized England, from both a design aesthetic and the impact on traditional craftsmen. His press highlighted the artistry and craftsmanship he admired from the medieval era of early printed books.

Kelmscott Press books have a distinctive look and feel, reflecting Morris’s specific design principles for space, layout, and materials. He designed his own typeface, including decorative borders and intricate initial lettering for use in the press. He also had a hand in selecting the handmade paper and ink used in the printing process.

The masterpiece of the Kelmscott Press is the Kelmscott Chaucer, completed just months before Morris passed away. His lifelong friend and collaborator Edward Burne-Jones wrote of the Chaucer: “Indeed when the book is done, if we live to finish it, it will be like a pocket cathedral – so full of design and I think Morris the greatest master of ornament in the world”

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William Addison Dwiggins (1880-1956) was an American illustrator, typographer, and book designer. Like Morris, Dwiggins lamented the decline in the quality of books being printed in his lifetime. In 1919, he published Extracts from an Investigation into the Physical Properties of Books as they are at Present Published, which included a humorous graph illustrating the plummeting quality of book design.

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Dwiggins designed books that reached a more commercial audience, often working with Alfred A. Knopf, Inc, a publishing house in New York  later purchased by Random House.

Dwiggins’s designs are minimalist, utilizing stencil illustrations and playing with bold colors, a stark contrast to the heavily ornamented works by the Kelmscott Press.  However, Dwiggins utilized several of Morris’s design principles, including proportional margins and two-page unified design. He designed several typefaces for his books, including Caledonia, Electra, and Metro. Dwiggins used his familiar stencil designed to produce equally beautiful bindings. This is another clear difference from Kelmscott Press books, which featured plain vellum or blue board bindings. The result is a unique and modern take on a well-designed book.

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And that’s what makes these two collections such a great teaching tool for students interested in graphic design. Comparing the works of two very different, yet connected artists can inspire young designers. They question why the artists made the choices they did, explore what makes their work similar, and why they are unique. Of course it begs the ultimate question when comparing William Morris and W. A. Dwiggins- who designed the better book?

Visit the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library to explore books from the William Morris and W.A. Dwiggins collections.

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.

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.

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Spotlight on Success: Teaching with Special Collections

Did you know there are rich collections of primary source material available right here on campus?

Special Collections and University Archives librarians are prepared to assist you and your students achieve instructional goals. You are already aware of the ways in which Pat Herron, librarian for the English department, can help you and your students learn basic research skills.

Christina Walter and HHUM106 students

Christina Walter and HHUM106 students

SCUA librarians can help students interested in using primary source materials. We can provide a variety of instructional opportunities:

  • Set up a tour of the gallery exhibit or to go “behind the scenes”
  • Select materials for students to use throughout the semester
  • Invite a librarian to your classroom to describe our collections
  • Bring students to the library for librarian-led instruction on primary source research

Whatever your needs, a librarian will be selected to work closely with you and to design a tailored learning experience for your students. Email Laura Cleary, lcleary@umd.edu, for more information or complete our online form, go.umd.edu/instruction, to set up a learning experience.

Honors Humanities 106

In the Spring 2015 semester, we had the opportunity to work with Christina Walter’s class, HHUM106: Modern Eye Modernize: Literature and Visual Culture in the Early 20th Century.

Christina pre-selected material from the Robert Carlton Brown collection to share with students. Three classes were held in Hornbake Library, allowing students ample time to study the material. During their third class, the students presented their research findings. Over the course of this project, students were exposed to primary source material and engaged in sophisticated research techniques.

Learning to research with Primary Sources

Has your class met with a librarian yet?

We are gearing up for a number of classes with students. We offer a variety of instructional opportunities, but our most common request is to provide students with an introduction to primary source research and the special collections available on campus. Use the resources below to refresh your memory or to learn about research with primary sources.

instructionResearch with primary sources

Web tools

Special Collections and University Archives (find materials now)

ArchivesUM  (archives and manuscripts on campus)

Digital Collections (digitized special collections materials)

Research using primary sources (tutorial)

Other tools

Primary Source Analysis

Newspapers to research topics in 1975

Introduction to Using Primary Sources on Campus (presentation slides)

Contact us – email askhornbake@umd.edu or call 301-405-9212

The Early Printing Collection: An Introduction

Special Collections and University Archives at UMD is home to a new (very old!) collection of early printing. The collection has been processed and digitized, and is available in Digital Collections or by request in person in the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library. You can also view our Flickr album featuring images from the collection.

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Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493

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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