Alice’s Adventures in Hornbake Library are Coming to an End

If you haven’t made it to Hornbake Library to experience our exhibit Alice 150 Years and Counting…The Legacy of Lewis Carroll, now is the time! The final day it is open will be Friday, July 29th.

Over the past two years, we feel like we have become friends with Alice and her Wonderland friends as we have worked to bring her story to life by displaying the collection of two very devoted Lewis Carroll collectors, August and Clare Imholtz.


August and Clare have been collecting Lewis Carroll and Alice related items for 35 years. Their collection has brought to light the astonishing ways Alice’s adventures have been translated, illustrated, and transformed over time. Whether she is portrayed with light or dark hair, yellow or blue dress, short or tall, young or old, Alice’s indefatigable curiosity and eager enjoyment of life remain at the core of Carroll’s story that has remained a fixture in literary and pop culture for over a century and a half.

Confronted with the rows of colorful bindings under their sparking glass cases, visitors IMG_7543.JPGcannot help but be inspired by Alice’s curiosity. There are so many questions that spring to mind: How can a Cheshire Cat be a kangaroo? Why is the Hatter wearing a fez? Why is Alice ice-skating? Can the Jabberwock really play basketball? How do you say ‘Twinkle, Twinkle litter bat’ in German? Does the Queen of Hearts drink Guinness?

The exhibit may not give you all the answers to such questions, but we think Lewis Carroll would agree that it’s all part of the adventure!

Although Alice 150 Years and Counting must come to an end, the story continues in our online exhibit, which will remain open even when the doors to the exhibit are closed. Explore illustrations and discover more about the items you saw in the gallery. So even though Alice’s adventures in Hornbake Library may be ending, her story continues.

Don’t forget to stay tuned to hear what is coming next to Hornbake Library’s exhibit gallery.


Doves Press Bible on Display in Hornbake Library

Visit the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library to view The English Bible, printed by the Doves Press in 1903. This is an exquisite example of the fine press movement in England, which sought to create traditionally crafted, beautiful books using handmade paper, quality ink, and carefully designed type and page layout. The Doves Press operated in England from 1900-1916.

Explore more examples of fine press books in our Literature & Rare Books collections in Special Collections and University Archives.

Spotlight on Wonderland: The Queen of Hearts


Do you have a hot temper? When it comes to overreacting, the Queen of Hearts is, well…the Queen. Whether its because she is losing at croquet, doesn’t like white roses, or simply doesn’t want the Cheshire Cat hanging around, the solution is all the same – off with their heads!

But how could a children’s book be so violent? Despite the Queen’s never-ending threats, the Gryphon assures Alice “they never executes nobody, you know.” Often, it is the King of Hearts who quietly pardons person while the Queen stomps away, the moderate voice in this royal pair. For the queen, it’s out of sight, out of mind. Even Alice is able to pull a fast one on the Queen and save the cards who dared to plant white roses in the royal garden:

`I see!’ said the Queen, who had meanwhile been examining the roses. `Off with their heads!’ and the procession moved on, three of the soldiers remaining behind to execute the unfortunate gardeners, who ran to Alice for protection.

`You shan’t be beheaded!’ said Alice, and she put them into a large flower-pot that stood near. The three soldiers wandered about for a minute or two, looking for them, and then quietly marched off after the others.

`Are their heads off?’ shouted the Queen.

`Their heads are gone, if it please your Majesty!’ the soldiers shouted in reply.

`That’s right!’ shouted the Queen.

Nursery1890tenniel_3The Queen appears to have no interest in confirming her orders are followed. And those around her are all too happy to mollify their easily provoked monarch before she turns her wrath in their direction. Just how capable can the government of Wonderland be if their days are spent pretending to execute people and playing croquet? Of course, the absurd trial of the Knave of Hearts isn’t the best example of effective governing on their part.

Typically portrayed as red-faced and wearing red, heart-covered clothing, it can be difficult to remember that there is a difference between the Queen of Hearts in Wonderland and the Red Queen in Through the Looking Glass. The theme of many of the characters in Lewis Carroll’s  Alice in Wonderland is based on playing cards, where the characters in his sequel, Through the Looking-Glass, are chess-pieces.  Carroll wrote:

“I pictured to myself the Queen of Hearts as a sort of embodiment of ungovernable passion – a blind and aimless Fury. The Red Queen I pictured as a Fury, but of another type; her passion must be cold and calm – she must be formal and strict, yet not unkindly; pedantic to the 10th degree, the concentrated essence of all governesses!”

Although the Queen of Hearts is often portrayed as the villain of the story, Alice finds her nothing more than one of the many strange obstacles she encounters on her adventures. Finding herself a witness in the trial for the Knave of Hearts, Alice loudly dismisses the Queen’s sentence as “Stuff and Nonsense!” For Alice, reason and common sense see through the Queen’s empty threats and directionless anger.

What would you do if you came across this raging royal in Wonderland?

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

Visit Alice 150 Years and Counting

‘I could tell you my adventures–beginning from this morning,’ said Alice a little timidly: ‘but it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.’

If you haven’t visited Hornbake Library’s Alice 150 Years and Counting exhibit, you better hurry! Soon there will be no going back to yesterday. The exhibit will be open until the end of July, so be sure to visit (or re-visit!) while you can.


Can’t make it to Hornbake Library in person? Don’t worry, you can visit the online exhibit anytime!

Alice Goes to the Movies!

CarolMarsh1.pngAlmost everyone has seen Disney’s famous 1951 film adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, and fans of Johnny Depp are sure to have seen him starring as the Mad Hatter in Tim Burton’s 2010 adaptation. But did you know that since 1903, over 35 films and television programs have reinterpreted Alice?

Hornbake Library is excited to announce a three-part film series- Alice Goes to the Movies. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see early Alice films and learn about how they were saved from the passage of time. David H. Schaefer, longtime Lewis Carroll collector and Alice film expert, will be sharing some of the highlights of his Alice film collection and discussing the process of restoring and digitizing them.

Join us on April 7th from 4:30-6:00pm in Hornbake Library, Room 0302H for our first film night. Dr. Schaffer will be opening the film series with a brief introduction titled “Did Lewis Carroll ever see a motion picture?“.  Afterward, munch on popcorn as we watch the two earliest, silent film adaptations of Alice from 1903 and 1910. We’ll wrap up the night with the 1933 cartoon Betty in Wonderland, where director Dave Fleischer sends Betty Boop to Wonderland via the subway.

Alice at the Movies Flyer

All are welcome – unless you are the Queen of Hearts! Whether you are interested in learning about film preservation or are one of many Alice fans, you are certain to enjoy a one-of-a-kind adventure in Wonderland. Directions and parking information can be found online.

Don’t forget to visit our Alice 150 Years and Counting: Legacy of Lewis Carroll exhibit, currently on display in Hornbake Library, to explore all things Alice. If you are a film/theater/music fan, don’t miss the exhibit AHall1lice in the Performing Arts, now on display in the Lowens Reading Room at the Peforming Arts Library. This companion exhibit features unique Alice film items, like this book of previously unpublished Walt Disney illustrations. Visit our online exhibit and take a look at some of the illustrations inside this and other Alice items on display!



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.

Spotlight on Wonderland: The March Hare


March is here, and so is the madness! Time to butter our pocket watches and drink too much tea, as our good friend the March Hare has been known to do. When Alice first meets him, she sits down at his large tea party without being asked, much to his irritation. In a rather passive aggressive way, he makes Alice aware of her breach of etiquette.

“Have some wine,” the March Hare said in an encouraging tone.

Alice looked all around the table, but there was nothing on it but tea. “I don’t see any wine,” she remarked.

“There isn’t any,” said the March Hare.

“Then it wasn’t very civil of you to offer it,” said Alice angrily.

“It wasn’t very civil of you to sit down without being invited,” said the March Hare.”

Touche, you snarky little hare. On top of this, he and the Mad Hatter eventually try to stuff the poor sleepy little dormouse into a teapot.


What do you think of the March Hare’s manners? How do they stack up among the mad characters in Wonderland?

Did You Know:

  • Tenniel drew straw in the March Hare’s hair to show that he was mad. In England, hares were thought to go mad in Spring. Straw was a symbol of madness.
  • In The Nursery Alice, Carroll wrote, “that’s the March Hare with the long ears, and straws mixed up with his hair. The straws showed he was mad–I don’t know why. Never twist up straws among your hair, for fear people should think you’re mad!”
  • The March Hare’s house, often seen in the background of illustrations of the Mad Tea Party, features chimneys shaped like rabbit ears and a roof thatched with fur.

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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.