Friday, July 27, 2007

The University of Chicago Library Short-Term Research Fellowships, 2008-2009

The University of Chicago Library announces a program of short-term research fellowships for 2008-2009. Any visiting researcher residing more than 100 miles from Chicago whose project requires on-site consultation of materials in the Special Collections Research Center is eligible. Support for beginning scholars is a priority of the program. Awards will be made based on an evaluation of the research proposal and the applicant's ability to complete it successfully. Priority will be given to projects that cannot be conducted without on-site access to the original materials and where University of Chicago collections are central to the research. Up to $3,000 of support will be awarded to help cover projected travel, living, and research expenses. Applications from women, minorities, and persons with disabilities are encouraged. The deadline for applications is February 15, 2008. Notice of awards will be made April 4, 2008, for use between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2009.

For application guidelines and instructions, click here.

Jamestown at 400: Natives and Newcomers in Early Virginia
An exhibition at the Huntington Library, San Marino, CA
July 24, 2007 -- January 14, 2008

Early Jamestown, Va., was the place where John Smith met Pocahontas, where settlers discovered the value of growing tobacco, and where the English permitted their colonists to practice self-government. But the fact that the colony survived long enough to achieve any of those distinctions, much less to have an anniversary worth celebrating 400 years later, is something of an accomplishment in itself.

Jamestown was, in fact, a notorious hellhole perched on the edge of a swamp,” says Peter Mancall, professor of history at the University of Southern California and director of the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute. Typhoid fever and famine wiped out a large percentage of the population each year, he notes. And by 1622, just a generation into settlement there, the Europeans and Indians were at war in a conflict that would ultimately leave hundreds of settlers and natives dead.

Mancall is the guest curator of the new exhibition “Jamestown at 400: Natives and Newcomers in Early Virginia,” on view from July 7 through Jan. 14, 2008, in the West Hall of the Library. The exhibit is co-curated by Robert C. Ritchie, The Huntington’s W.M. Keck Foundation Director of Research. (The show is a companion exhibition to “Legacy and Legend” in the MaryLou and George Boone Gallery, which also marks the 400th anniversary of Jamestown by examining European depictions of Native Americans across four centuries.)

Drawing on The Huntington's unsurpassed collection of rare materials relating to the early history of Virginia, “Jamestown at 400” explores the role the colony played—against substantial odds—in the development of the nation. It begins by looking at early published accounts that reveal what the English and other Europeans knew (or thought they knew) about the Americas before 1607. Vivid illustrations from 16th-century books testify to the European belief that many Native Americans were cannibals. But those ideas faded away when colonists arrived and met actual Indians. Material on Pocahontas and John Smith is central to the exhibition—historical sources indicate that the nature of their relationship has been highly romanticized in the popular imagination. Illustrations and documents that describe other interactions between colonists and Native Americans will also be displayed.

“In large part, the settlement of Jamestown and Virginia had to do with the quest for economic gain,” says Ritchie. “Settlers first were sent from England in search of gold; they came up empty-handed on that front but landed later on the very lucrative commodity of tobacco.” Among the materials on display from The Huntington’s collection is a rare stock certificate dated 1610 issued by the Virginia Company of London, the enterprise that organized the colonization of the Chesapeake region and sought investors to finance voyages to Jamestown. Shareholders received a portion of the voyages’ profits from cargoes of tobacco sent back on return trips.

Many English settlers traveled across the Atlantic to populate the colony and work the fields, and the exhibit includes documents listing some of the hundreds of men and women who left for the New World for that purpose. Some departing travelers were better prepared than others: an informative document published by the Virginia Company in 1622 lists a number of necessary provisions by which colonists setting off for America could avoid “The inconveniencies that have happened to some persons which have transported themselves from England to Virginia.” For many of the earlier arrivals, those “inconveniences” had often included death. Among the items on the lengthy list of essentials were a complete suit of light armour (17 shillings), eight bushels of meal (£2), three pairs of stockings (4 shillings), one gallon of aquavit (2 shillings sixpence), 60 pounds of lead shot (5 shillings), and a very large quantity of assorted nails (£2).

At the time, the English shared the belief that tobacco was perhaps the most important plant that humans had ever discovered: a panacea capable of curing virtually any human illness. “The colonists’ decision to pursue the plant had far-ranging consequences, especially when a boat carrying approximately 20 Africans arrived on the shores of the Chesapeake,” says Mancall. That moment signaled the birth of slavery in English America.

The exhibition concludes with documents from the period after the dissolution of the Virginia Company in 1624. Among these later materials are very rare 19th- and 20th-century commemorations of earlier Jamestown anniversaries, including an 1857 celebratory poem, an invitation issued by President Theodore Roosevelt to the other nations of the world to join the celebration in 1907, and a mid-20th-century imaginative rendering of Capt. John Smith shaking hands with a modern businessman.

Jamestown has been part of American lore for centuries,” says Mancall. “One of the goals of this show is to demystify it a bit. The books, letters, maps, and pictures we present reveal what it was really like when the English established what became their first permanent colony in the Western Hemisphere.”

More info here

Monday, July 23, 2007

Writing and Wonder: Books, Memory, and Imagination
A Spring-Semester Seminar at the Folger Shakespeare Library

In the age of the Wunderkammer, writing itself appeared miraculous: “What, then, is more wondrous?” asked a scholar in 1617. The assumption that cultural continuity depends entirely on writing was commonplace, yet infinitely stimulating to the literate imagination. As scholars consolidated philological study and systematically formed great libraries for patrons and institutions, they sifted ancient and medieval literature for heroic narratives about the origin of writing, the invention of arts and sciences, semi-divine authors, magical books, vast libraries, titanic struggles between writing and erasure, memory and oblivion, civilization and savagery. The appeal of this lore was greatest between 1200 and the “Age of Wonder” and had declined steeply by 1800, after scholarly triage redefined many literary wonders as either counterfeits or nonexistent “imaginary” books. Modern and postmodern disciplines of the book and writing—paleography, library science, the material history of the book—emerged as this process discredited antiquarian fantasies. But works like the *Attempt at an Introduction to Historia Litteraria Antediluviana, that is, A History of Scholars and Scholarship Before the Flood* (1709) are significant for interpreting scholarship, historical counterfeit, fiction, parody, and visual arts in the early modern period. Case studies may include late medieval encyclopedists, Quattrocento humanists, Renaissance compilers (Polydore Vergil, Ravisius Textor, et al.), canonical authors such as Rabelais, Montaigne, Tasso, Cervantes, Milton, Vico, and Voltaire, and other topics that arise from participants’ research.

Walter Stephens is the Charles S. Singleton Professor of Italian Studies at The Johns Hopkins University. He is author of Demon Lovers: Witchcraft, Sex, and the Crisis of Belief (2002) and co-editor of Discourses of Authority in Medieval and Renaissance Literature (1989) among other publications. He is currently working on early modern counterfeit and the mythology of books and writing.

Fridays, 1 – 4:30 p.m., 1 February through 18 April 2008, except 14 March and 4 April.

Application Deadlines:
4 September 2007 for admission and grants-in-aid; 4 January 2008 for admission only. Application guidelines here.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Bibliographical Society of Canada
Analytical Bibliography Course at the University of Toronto
27 and 31 August 2007

The Bibliographical Society of Canada will sponsor a course on analytical bibliography to be held at the University of Toronto between 27 and 31 August 2007. The course will focus on historical bibliography, textual bibliography, and descriptive bibliography. The course instructor is Carl Spadoni. Guest lecturers (Patricia Fleming, Judy Donnelly, Randall Speller, Elizabeth Driver, etc.) will also give presentations pertaining to early printing, imprint bibliography, subject bibliography, author bibliography, and other matters. This course is intended for librarians, literary scholars, historians, graduate students, and others interested in book collecting and the history of the book. Further information about the course will be supplied to applicants at a later date. The cost of the course is $500 or $250 for students, retirees, and unwaged persons. Please make your cheque payable to the Bibliographical Society of Canada c/o of the address below.

Carl Spadoni
Archives and Research Collections
1280 Main Street West
, ON Canada L8S 4L6

tel: 1-905-525-9140 ext. 27369; fax: 1-905-546-0625

Land of Silk and Sages: An Exhibition of Early Printed Books on China
Marsh's Library, Dublin

This exhibition was opened in the library by the Chinese Ambassador, H.E. Mr Zhang Xinsen, on 17th May 2007, and will continue until Spring 2008. The books on display represent some of the earliest accounts of China by Western travellers. The exhibition begins with a magnificent atlas open at a map of the province of Peking (now Beijing). The cartouche shows the emperor and empress seated on either side with servants carrying parasols. Visitors can also see Marco Polo's observations on the geography, government and culture of China.

The famous Chinese sage and philosopher Confucius is regarded as the most important thinker in Chinese history and there is a case devoted to him and his famous maxims. There are books with illustrations of magnificent and spectacular Chinese processions. One procession shows the emperor and his retinue when he appears in public. He is accompanied by men playing twenty-four trumpets other men carrying lances, and four hundred great lanterns. Also included in this majestic procession are princes, foot soldiers, elephants, and chariots.

This exhibition contains accounts of the customs, houses, animals, flora and fauna of the China. There are sections on the Great Wall and on Chinese medicine and illustrations of the silkworm and the making of silk. Another case is devoted to the Jesuit Mission and the famous Rites Controversy.

More info here

Illuminated Islamic Manuscripts: A Selection of New Acquisitions at Yale University
Beinecke Library
late June - late August 2007

Islamic manuscripts uniquely mirror the civilization that produced them. The entire gamut of learning can be seen in these pages, from grammar, literature, and poetry to theology, astronomy, mathematics, and medicine. The Islamic manuscript shows not only the beauty and variety of Islamic calligraphy, illuminations, and paintings, but also the extreme care various artisans took in penmanship, binding, and papermaking. These colorful illuminations and miniatures transcend time and place, providing a window into pre-twentieth-century Islamic culture.

Ptolemy's Geography and Renaissance Mapmakers
Newberry Library, Chicago (Upcoming!)
November 3, 2007 - February 16 2008

Claudius Ptolemy, the 2nd Century CE Greek astronomer, is known as the father of modern geography. Ptolemy provided instructions for using latitude and longitude to depict the earth as a sphere on paper and compiled tables of coordinates for places in the known Greek world. A revival of Ptolemy’s work during the 15th and 16th centuries led to the creation of maps that at first bore only a slight resemblance to the modern world. This exhibition draws on the Library’s beautiful and internationally renowned collection of printed editions of the Geography to show how Renaissance mapmakers slowly transformed Ptolemy’s work from an ancient text to the foundation for Renaissance atlases. By the end of this era, geographers had created an expanded, modern atlas that relied on new information as well as on the revered work of Ptolemy.

Get more info here