Special Collections Spotlight: German Expressionism

German Expressionism is a cultural movement that is challenging to define as it is not distinguished by a singular style or method of creation, but rather is better described by both the mindset of the artist creating the work and the generation they lived in. The German Expressionists were artists, writers, and thinkers who were of age in Germany prior to World War II, and lived during Wilhelm II’s reign. German Expressionism developed as a result of the younger generation’s reaction against the bourgeois culture of Germany during this time period. The German Expressionist movement was more than just a style of creating works of art or of telling a story, rather it was more of a mindset that had social, cultural, and political aspects. German Expressionism can be understood as a means of approaching life and, in particular, change.

The significance of German Expression is in its ephemeral nature. Many of the publications that resulted from the movement were serials printed on cheaply made paper that has become brittle over time. The movement as a whole was transitional, and it reflected German culture in that moment of change. The movement did not last an especially long time, and started to fade out as its artists and writers aged. As the National Socialists gained power in Germany, Expressionism was rejected and condemned, and many of the works produced in the style of the movement were burned and destroyed.

Explore the German Expressionism collection Subject Guide.

To view any German Expressionism titles visit the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library or if you have any questions, please contact us!


What is a Subject Guide?

A Subject Guide, also called a LibGuide, is a web page developed by library staff that focuses on a specific subject area. In any subject guide you may find databases relevant to the subject area, links to websites, journals and magazines, recommended books, library contacts for a specific subject, and much more.

Special Collections Spotlight: Katherine Anne Porter papers

Special Collections and University Archives in Hornbake Library is home to the literary archive of Texas-born author Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980). She is best know for her short stories and bestselling novel Ship of Fools. She was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1966 for The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter.

Porter’s personal papers reflect her interests in writing, travel, politics, and current events and also document her private life. The collection includes correspondence, notes and drafts for her works, publications, legal documents, and financial records. It also includes over 1,500 photographs from her personal collection, dating from the 1890s to 1979. Subjects of both snapshots and professional portraits include Porter, her family, friends, homes, and places she visited. The Porter collection also contains memorabilia, including Mexican pottery, furniture, awards, and diplomas, as well as her personal library. Many of these objects and a portion of her library are housed in the Katherine Anne Porter Room in Hornbake Library.

Shortly after accepting an honorary degree from the University of Maryland in 1966, Porter announced that she would donate her papers, personal library, and other personal effects to the University of Maryland, where the Katherine Anne Porter Room was dedicated in McKeldin Library on May 15, 1968. She moved to College Park in 1969, in part to be closer to the university and her papers. From that time until ill health prevented it, Porter often visited the room to work on her papers. She thought of it as a place where individuals could “view and enjoy her library and furnishings” in an atmosphere that reflected her personal taste and style.

View our online wxhibit “Katherine Anne Porter: Correspondence from the Archives 1912-1977“.

Browse the fining aid to the Katherine Anne Porter papers.

Contact us for more information! 


What is a finding aid?

A finding aid is a description of the contents of a collection, similar to a table of contents you would find in a book. A collection’s contents are often grouped logically and describe the group of items within each folder. You rarely find descriptions of the individual items within collections. Finding aids also contain information about the size and scope of collections. Additional contextual information may also be included.

New Exhibit: The Joy of Cooking in Special Collections

It’s the holiday season and we have cooking on the mind in Special Collections at UMD! For many, our relationship with food stems from a desire not just to sustain ourselves, but also to find comfort within and to bring comfort to others. Food helps us understand who we are by reflecting our heritage, talents, or personality. What we cook and eat can provide a glimpse into how adventurous, nostalgic, creative, communal, organized or practical we truly are. Eating and cooking gives us the opportunity to create and share memories, especially when exploring recipes passed down over generations. Even when we cannot be with our loved ones, aromas and flavors can evoke nostalgia and connect us with our past.

A new exhibit in the Special Collections & University Archives reading room, The Joy of Cooking in Special Collections reflects our human desire to share a meal, find joy, and explore who we are through the experience of cooking and eating. On display are cookbooks, recipes, and other items from Special Collections and University Archives that highlight the joy of cooking.

Included in the exhibit are personal recipes and annotated cookbooks from the literary archive of American Author Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980). Porter loved to cook and was inspired by her world travels to experiment in the kitchen. A native Texan, she spent time in Paris, Mexico, Washington D.C., and New York among other locations across the word. Her recipes for classic holiday dishes include turkey stuffing, eggnog, beef bourguignon, and roasted goose, perfect for a throwback holiday feast!

Porter collected a wide variety of cookbooks from the classic to the strange, often writing notes and substitutions over the original recipe, or simply writing “this” next to the recipes she wanted to cook. Her archives include both typed and handwritten recipes, sometimes featuring personal reminiscences about her favorite dishes. Porter was known to craft her own recipes and send samples off to friends, including her highly requested hell broth-a fermented pepper sauce made with dark rum, cognac, and three pounds of mixed hot peppers. You can read more about Porter in the kitchen in our ABCs of KAP blog post.

Also on display are cookbooks from the rare books collection and Maryland collection, the latter featuring regional recipes to the state of Maryland including regional favorited such as Old Bay, crabs, and oysters. Many regions have their own culinary traditions and local residents often pride themselves on loving those food items that are most closely connected with their hometown. Maryland embraces its connection to seafood, especially Maryland Blue Crabs, and the increasingly ubiquitous Old Bay spice which pops up in both sweet and savory treats, as well as beverages.

Cookbooks from the rare book collection range from medieval cooking with medicinal herbs to regional dishes from across the world. Some early cookbooks combined domestic medicine with cooking and other household skills, so the savvy reader could review a copy of A Treatise of Domestic Medicine (1888) to find a remedy for rickets as well as a dozen or so fish recipes to cook for the family. 

Some rare book dishes may seem unfamiliar today, such as beef tongue toast, boiled pigeon, or mock turtle soup. The format may also seem unusual, with the ingredients not listed separately at the top and the instructions condensed in one paragraph. The recipes within however, are glimpses into the culinary past and can inspire nostalgia for a home cooked meal.

The exhibit also highlights cooking in postwar Japan from the Gordon W. Prange Collection. On August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered unconditionally to the United States and Allied Powers, ending World War II. In the aftermath, thousands of U.S. military and civilian personnel and their families moved to Japan to oversee the rehabilitation of the defeated nation. Materials from the Gordon W. Prange Collection highlight how the “American dream” was represented by these communities and how in turn, the Japanese people envisioned their own dreams as they rebuilt their lives. These highly illustrative and colorful cookbooks each tell a story of food and community in this unique post-war environment.

The exhibit is on display in the Maryland Room thru December 23, 2022. Visit us or contact us to learn more.

Special thanks to Prange Collection Coordinator Motoko Lezec and Katherine Anne Porter Graduate Student Assistant Mattie Lewis for their inspiration for this exhibit!

Special Collections Spotlight: William Morris papers

William Morris (1834-1896) was an English artist, author, socialist, and printer. He is best known for his association with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and as a central figure of the English Arts and Crafts Movement.

Morris rose to popularity as the author of the epic poem The Earthly Paradise (1868-1870). Morris’s other well known works encompassed several genres and styles, including narrative poetry, fantasy and utopian novels, translations of Icelandic and other early works, essays, and short stories. These works include The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems (1858), A Dream of John Ball (1892) News from Nowhere (1893), and The Wood Beyond the World (1894).

Morris founded the design company Morris, Marshall, Faulkner, & Co. in 1861, which was restructured as Morris & Company in 1875. Morris and company specialisted in designing textiles, wallpapers, and furniture with the goal to remedy the pervasiveness of cheaply-made, mass produced furnishings that lacked any sense of beauty or style. Morris was also influential in the emergence of socialism in England in the nineteenth century, having founded the Socialist League in 1884.

In 1891, Morris founded the Kelmscott Press, which produced books modeled after fifteenth-century works. The press produced 53 titles during its 7-year operation. His 1896 edition of the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, referred to as the Kelmscott Chaucer, is often regarded a pinnacle of book design.

The William Morris papers includes correspondence from Sydney Cockerell, Jane Morris, and William Morris, a manuscript by Stopford Augustus Brooke, as well as books from Morris’ personal library, the Kelmscott press, and others, as well as ephemera. Books printed at the Kelmscott Press and other works by and about William Morris can be found in our rare books collection.

View our online exhibit “How We Might Live: The Vision of WIlliam Morris”

Explore the subject guide, William Morris and the Kelmscott Press.

Browse the finding aid for the William Morris papers.

Check Out Previous Blog posts on William Morris.

Contact us for more information! 


What is a finding aid?

A finding aid is a description of the contents of a collection, similar to a table of contents you would find in a book. A collection’s contents are often grouped logically and describe the group of items within each folder. You rarely find descriptions of the individual items within collections. Finding aids also contain information about the size and scope of collections. Additional contextual information may also be included.

What is a Subject Guide?

A Subject Guide, sometimes called a LibGuide, is a web page developed by library staff that focuses on a specific subject area. In any subject guide you may find databases relevant to the subject area, links to websites, journals and magazines, recommended books, library contacts for a specific subject, and much more.

Special Collections Spotlight: Carolyn Davis collection of Louisa May Alcott

The Carolyn Davis Collection consists of more than 300 books by and about Louisa May Alcott. This collection contains examples of almost all of Alcott’s most popular works as well as a number of her lesser-known writings. Among these titles are her first book Flower Fables, early to modern printings of Little Women, and a number of other works such as Little Men, Jo’s Boys, and Under the Lilacs. The collection also encompasses some biographies of Alcott, books about Concord, Massachusetts, magazine articles, newspaper articles, and ephemera.

Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) is widely known as author of Little Women or Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. Born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, to the transcendental philosopher Amos Bronson Alcott and Abigail May, Louisa grew up in Concord, Massachusetts with her three sisters. The family often experienced severe poverty and Louisa’s income became pivotal to the family’s survival. She worked as a nurse, seamstress and domestic servant until the publication of her first book, Flower Fables, in 1855 which netted the author thirty-two dollars.

With the publication of Little Women in 1868, Alcott achieved critical and financial success. The characters of the novel were drawn from those of Alcott’s sisters, and many of its episodes from those she and her family had experienced. Alcott’s masterpiece was followed by a succession of wholesome domestic narratives, the so-called Little Women series.

Since Alcott’s death her reputation has been reappraised as a result of the discovery of a large number of sensational “pot-boilers,” written in secret and published anonymously or under the pseudonym A. M. Barnard. These tales, written prior to the publication of Little Women, earned her between $25 and $100 each from periodical story papers. Beginning in 1975, republication of Alcott’s sensational stories spurred interest in her long out-of-print novels. The discovery of these stories has led to a recognition of Alcott as a far more complex and prolific writer than was originally thought. 

Explore the Carolyn Davis collection of Louisa May Alcott finding aid.

To view any of Louisa May Alcott’s works in the collection visit the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library or if you have any questions, please contact us


What is a finding aid?

A finding aid is a description of the contents of a collection, similar to a table of contents you would find in a book. A collection’s contents are often grouped logically and describe the group of items within each folder. You rarely find descriptions of the individual items within collections. Finding aids also contain information about the size and scope of collections. Additional contextual information may also be included.

The ABCs of Katherine Anne Porter: I is for…

Image!

Katherine Anne Porter’s image is striking and instantly recognizable. She was a young beauty with dark brown that was transformed stark white due the stress and treatment of Spanish Influenza in 1918. Her hair had been white for so long, she was sometimes mistaken for a blonde in black and white photographs. Even the postage stamp that was created in her honor in 2006 originally portrayed Porter as a blonde as a result of using black and white photos as reference.

As a well-known author, Porter tended to be very formal with her appearance with strong ideas about she looked and should be portrayed. She felt pictures of her, especially on book jackets or in newspapers, needed to be dignified to match her serious dedication to writing. She is often photographed professionally to show her unsmiling with her preferred ¾ profile. Porter felt that portrait style was more distinguished and flattering to her face shape. When not being photographed for media reasons, Porter is quick to smile, showing the still elegant but much more relaxed and private version of herself.

Porter was also close friends with photographer George Platt Lynes (1907-1955), who photographed Porter on many occasions. She was often posed in evening gowns with soft lighting, with the effect of creating an aura of old Hollywood glamour to Porter’s beauty.

You can see digitized photos of Katherine Anne Porter through Special Collection’s Digital Repository or visit the Maryland Room in-person. Browse the finding aid for the Katherine Anne Porter papers to learn more!


Mattie Lewis is a student in the Masters of Library and Information Sciences program and Graduate Assistant with the Katherine Anne Porter Collection at UMD.

Special Collections Spotlight: Thom Gunn papers

Thom Gunn (1929-2004) was a British poet, whose residence was primarily in the United States beginning in the 1950s. He published over thirty books of poetry, a collection of essays, and four edited collections. Gunn combined an interest in traditional poetics with less traditional subjects, such as Hell’s Angels, LSD, and homosexuality. The collection includes drafts, notebooks, publications, correspondence, and photographs. The bulk of the collection includes materials from his books Positives (1966) and Touch (1967), including many drafts and notes from Gunn’s most ambitious poem, “Misanthropos.”

The papers of Thom Gunn span the period from 1951 to 1983. The collection also contains copies of Gunn’s publications and some correspondence, most notably two letters to Donald Davie. Additional works by Thom Gunn can be found in our rare books collection.

View our Online Exhibit ‘Thom Gunn and “Misanthropos”‘.

Explore the Thom Gunn papers finding aid.

To view any items in the collection visit the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library or if you have any questions, please contact us


What is a finding aid?

A finding aid is a description of the contents of a collection, similar to a table of contents you would find in a book. A collection’s contents are often grouped logically and describe the group of items within each folder. You rarely find descriptions of the individual items within collections. Finding aids also contain information about the size and scope of collections. Additional contextual information may also be included.

Special Collections Spotlight: William Addison Dwiggins Collection

William Addison Dwiggins (1880-1956) was an American type designer, book designer, calligrapher, illustrator, and writer. He also carved and wrote plays for his marionettes, and had occasional excursions into architecture, furniture design, mural painting, kite flying, weathervane-making, and making his own tools. After studying illustration under Frederic Goudy, Dwiggins moved to Hingham, Massachusetts in the early 1900s to work with Goudy and his Village Press. Most of Dwiggins work in the first two decades of the 20th century was in the advertising field.

It was not until the mid-twenties that Dwiggins emerged as a book designer, following the publication of his 1919 essay “Extracts from an Investigation into the Physical Properties of Books as They Are At Present Published”. Published by The Society of Calligraphers, a fictitious group created by Dwiggins, with the “help” of Hermann Püterschein (Dwiggins’ alter-ego) the essay aimed to shake up publishing industry by criticizing the lack of attention to careful design and typography. It helped to establish Dwiggins as a designer opposed to what he considered shoddy workmanship of the 20th century.

In 1926, Dwiggins designed and illustrated both the limited and trade editions of Willa Cather’s My Mortal Enemy for the publisher Alfred A. Knopf. He went on to have a long and fruitful career designing many more trade and limited editions for Knopf, as well as limited editions for other organizations, including George Macy’s Limited Editions Club.

Dwiggins is known for his used of ornamentation done with stencils and hand lettering on the spines of his books. The collection includes over 130 volumes and over 30 pieces of ephemera documenting Dwiggins’s design career, as well as works written about him.

Explore the William Addison Dwiggins collection finding aid.

To view any of W. A. Dwiggins’ works in the collection visit the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library or if you have any questions, please contact us


What is a finding aid?

A finding aid is a description of the contents of a collection, similar to a table of contents you would find in a book. A collection’s contents are often grouped logically and describe the group of items within each folder. You rarely find descriptions of the individual items within collections. Finding aids also contain information about the size and scope of collections. Additional contextual information may also be included.

New Resource: LibGuide on Gothic Literature in Special Collections

With the start of October we are officially entering spooky season! If you’re in the mood for omnious reading, check out the new subject guide, Gothic Literature in Special Collections! This guide highlights many of the titles influential to the Gothic genre that are available in Literature & Rare Books in Special Collections & University Archives  in Hornbake Library.

Gothic literature is an extensive literary genre. These works often include themes of romance, horror, and a prevailing atmosphere of mystery and terror. The term Gothic is a reference to the architecture of medieval buildings and ruins, which served as inspiration and backdrop in gothic novels with omnious castles/manors surrounded by eerie landscapes outside and subterranean passages, hidden panels, and trapdoors on the inside. The golden age of Gothic literature is roughly defined as beginning in the late 18th century up to the end of the 19th century, although its imprint can clearly be seen long past this timeframe leading into the modern horror genre in film, literature, comics, and more.

Authors highlighted in the new subject guide include grandfather of Gothic literature, Horace Walpole whose 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto is widely considered to be the first Gothic novel. Additional highlighted authors are the prolific Edgar Allen Poe, Mary Shelley, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and John William Polidori, whose 1819 novel, The Vampyre,  is considered the one of the first modern novels of the vampire genre in fiction. The Literature and Rare Books collection holds two first editions of The Vampyre. Illustrated editions of Frankenstein and works by Edgar Allan Poe are also prominent in the collections. Also included are notable Southern Gothic writers William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor and works that branch out beyond traditional Gothic genre.

Contact us for more information about these titles or other materials located from Literature & Rare Books in Special Collections & University Archives!


Victoria Vera is a graduate student in the Masters of Library and Information Sciences program at UMD and a student assistant in the Literature and Rare Books Collections, Special Collections and University Archives.

The ABCs of Katherine Anne Porter: D is for…

Deadlines!

Katherine Anne Porter was notorious for missing deadlines due to her exacting writing style. She could spend months or years working a single piece, mulling over a story during the “brooding period” of her writing process. She would meticulously plan the dialogue and story arc in her head before eventually putting the story on paper.  Porter wanted to make as few changes as possible to the first draft and wouldn’t allow publishers to make changes either. If the story wasn’t perfect in her opinion, then it would be relegated to her in-progress pile, perhaps indefinitely.

One of Porter’s most recognized works, Flowering Judas, took 20 years to complete. She also worked on a never completed biography of puritan clergyman Cotton Mather for 40 years and with four different publishers. Granted, she wrote plenty of other pieces during these time frames, but Porter much preferred to write as the urge came to her and not to force a story to completion.

Porter addressed her deadlines in an interview saying, “It is nobody’s business but mine how long it takes me to do a piece of work. The work is my work, not theirs. It has nothing to do with them until its produced. So therefore I don’t pay much attention to that.”

You can explore digitized letters by Katherine Anne Porter’s online in the online exhibit Katherine Anne Porter: Correspondence from the Archives, 1912-1977.

Digitized photographs of Katherine Anne Porter can be found in our Digital Collections repository.

Browse the finding aid to the Katherine Anne Porter papers and contact us to learn more!


Mattie Lewis is a student in the Masters of Library and Information Sciences program and Graduate Assistant with the Katherine Anne Porter Collection at UMD.