Acquisition of resources in Special Collections and Museums supports the educational programs of the University through broad collecting areas in the fine, decorative, and applied arts; English, Irish, and American literature; history and Delawareana, with a concentration in the greater regions of Delmarva and the Delaware Valley; horticulture; and history of science and technology with concentrations in the history of chemistry and engineering.
From a 1475 Nuremberg printing of Koberger’s Latin bible to a small collection of flyers advertising lesbian events in the 1990s, this list of selected new acquisitions reflects ongoing areas of collection development as well as recent efforts to acquire under-represented topics. Our continued acquisition of Special Collections resources is supported by endowed gift funds restricted to the purpose, as well as by the generous support of the Friends of the University of Delaware Library.
Special Collections librarians welcome instruction and outreach opportunities to promote these primary sources with faculty. Requests for instruction or Faculty recommendations for new acquisitions are always welcome. Contact: https://library.udel.edu/special/contact-us/askspec/
Special Collections and Museums
- African American History
- African American Literature
- African Literature
- British Art and Literature
- History – General
- History – Travel
- LGBTQ Material
- Lincoln Collection (History)
- Mark Samuels Lasner Collection
- Printing History and Material Culture
1. African American History
Niles Weekly Register, vol. XIL no. 22. Baltimore: H. Niles, 1 Aug. 1835, pp.  378-392.
This disbound issue of Baltimore’s Niles Weekly Register includes an account of Virgil Stewart’s pamphlet about John Murell, A History of the Detection, Conviction, Life And Designs of John A. Murrell, The Great Western Land Pirate (1835). This title adds to Library holdings related to the history of race and American slavery. Although much of Stewart’s pamphlet is believed to have been fictitious, it references a series of events that took place in the Antebellum South. Accounts of the period varied in their claims that Murell was a key figure in a network of bandits called “the Mystic Clan.” Most notably, it was believed that Murell, a criminal known for illegally trafficking in enslaved people, had attempted to organize an insurrection among the enslaved population in Louisiana. Reports indicate that during what was termed as the “Murell Excitement,” as many as twenty enslaved individuals were tortured and executed in an attempt to uncover the alleged plot. Included also is a contemporaneous account of the hanging of five gamblers tied to Murell who had resisted expulsion from Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1835 after Murell was arrested.
Browne, Martha Griffin. Autobiography of a Female Slave. New York: Redfield, 1857.
Masquerading as a memoir, this novel is one of many abolitionist texts that aimed to use a fictional narrative to advance the cause of abolition. This copy was owned by Edward Wetherill and Anna Thorpe Wetherill, prominent Quaker abolitionists who were active in the Underground Railroad.
Godwin, Benjamin. Lectures of Slavery. Boston: James B. Dow, 1836.
This is the first American edition of this influential text on the principles of abolition. Godwin, a Methodist minister, wrote this series of lectures in order to make the Antislavery movement more accessible to a general audience. The popularity of his lectures led to their subsequent publication in both British and American editions. This copy was formerly owned by the Pinveille Anti-Slavery Society in Pennsylvania, which also served as a station of the Underground Railroad.
Williams, Isaac D.; Goldie, William. Sunshine and Shadow of Slave Life. Reminiscences As Told By Isaac D. Williams to “Tege.” East Saginaw, Mich: Evening News Printing 1885.
This volume adds to the Library’s increasingly robust holdings in narratives of the enslaved. An epitomical example of what Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has termed “the talking book” or “signifying text,” the narrative is that of Isaac “Uncle Ike” Williams as told to William Ferguson Goldie, who identifies himself only as “Tege.” According to the biography, Williams was born around 1821 in King George County, Virginia, between the Potomac and Rappahanock Rivers. Much like Solomon Northup’s narrative, Williams relates to Goldie that he had previously worked as a free person, but was wrongfully sold into slavery as a teenager.
Sarah White Home for Colored People. Minute book of the Sarah White Home for Colored People, Wilmington, Delaware, April 1900-May 1904.
This original manuscript contains 140 pages of the minutes of the board of this organization. Laid-in is a typescript of the minutes for April 4, 1900, signed by Elizabeth Wilson, Secretary.
Decca Race Records Catalog. New York, Decca Records, 1940.
This trade catalog increases Library holdings in African American ephemera and job printing. The catalog features Decca’s blues and early rhythm and blues releases up to May 1940, covering some of the period’s most successful artists and entertainers like Louie Jordan (famous for the 1943 song “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby”), the Honey Dripper (Roosevelt Sykes), and the Alabama Jug Band. The catalog complements another Decca catalog held by the Library, The Complete Popular Record Catalog, 1939.
The 1941 American Negro Historical Calendar [printer’s sample for salesmen], 1941.
Another example of mid-twentieth-century Black ephemera, this sample calendar was created by Reverend George Williams Harvey, a Black preacher from Braddock, Pennsylvania, and former church editor for the Pittsburgh Courier.
Mary Anne Ferrell Hannah scrapbook, LaGrange, Georgia, 1943-1944.
Created by family as a memorial to Hannah, an African American who died while enlisted in the Women’s Army Corp in World War II, this volume is filled with photographs, letters and ephemera about her training and activities that Hannah sent home to Georgia. The scrapbook also includes a letter from her husband that was sent the day she died at Station Hospital at Camp Pickett, Virginia. She died from a blood clot, which her husband suspected she would have survived had she not been in army care.
Forward Together [poster for Race Relations Sunday]. National Council of Churches, 1944.
This mid-twentieth-century poster announces Race Relations Sunday. Originally started by the National Council of Churches in 1924, this annual event has occurred in various churches across the nation since 1965, when it was first expanded beyond the purview of the Council. With the goal of improving relations among races and ethnicities, the poster offers a compelling visual record of American religious commitment to racial healing and reparative interracial dialog.
The Ebony Story: Ten Years That Rocked the World. Johnson Publications, 1955.
This retrospective special issue of the African American magazine Ebony details the history of the publication and its internal operations. The magazine, which still enjoys a circulation that boasts over a million readers, was started in 1945 by president of the Johnson Publications Company, John J. Johnson, publisher of Negro Digest and Jet. This issue exhibits rare photographic documentation of Black labor in the publishing industry. Staff images include Norman Hunter and Benjamin Byrd completing the magazine’s design and layouts, Lavada McGee operating a rotary press, and nine other Black women employees involved in the magazine’s presswork.
Kaba, Mariame. Zine Box Set. New York: Booklyn, 2020.
Mariame Kaba’s Box Set is an educational primer on current thoughts, history and resources surrounding prison reform, racial injustice and transformational justice. The zines and ephemera span prison and racial injustice topics such as the Attica Prison uprising of 1971, the Assata Shakur case, history of incarcerated Black women from the 19th and 20th centuries, the importance of protest, walking tours of NYC as they relate to slavery and radical Black women, histories of Black women in Chicago, accountability and transformational justice.
2. African American Literature
Chesnutt, Charles W. The Wife of His Youth and Other Stories of the Color Line. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1899.
In this collection of nine short stories set in Ohio and North Carolina, the African American author Charles Chesnutt scrutinized the sociological and psychological effects of Jim Crow on white, black, and mixed-race communities.
Cotter, Joseph S. Negro Tales. New York: Cosmopolitan, 1912.
Negro Tales is a very scarce collection of short stories and sketches by this important African American writer from Kentucky.
The Book of American Negro Poetry, edited by James Weldon Johnson. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1931.
This is a revised edition of Johnson’s groundbreaking 1921 anthology. Johnson’s critical introduction to the anthology provides new insight into an often ignored genre and is now considered a classic analysis of early Black contributions to American literature.
Cullen, Countee. The Medea and Some Poems. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1935.
This is the important Harlem Renaissance author’s modern rendition in prose, with the choruses in verse, of the play by Euripides. The other poems in the collection are sonnets and short lyric verses in traditional form.
Calloway, Cab. Prof. Cab Calloway’s Swingformation Bureau. Cab Calloway Inc., 1939.
This is a sequel to The New Cab Calloway’s Cat-ologue: A Hepster’s Dictionary, which was published to great acclaim a year earlier. This new book served as a coursebook testing readers’ knowledge of the “jive” terms introduced in the Hepster’s Dictionary and their general awareness of the swing music scene. Calloway wrote that this book was to be distributed to fans before he played in their cities with the thought that they would fill out and mail-in the quiz at the back of the book, and then arrive at his concert to find out if they were a prize winner in the “Swingformation Contest.” There is only one other known copy of this very rare book.
[American Civil Liberties Union.] Extracts from Decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Court in the Case of Strange Fruit, novel by Lillian Smith. (Decided Sept. 17, 1945) [typescript]. With news clipping editorial “On Lynching a Book” by Max Lerner, along with a cartoon, 1945.
These two items relate to Smith’s novel, Strange Fruit, which revolved around an interracial romance. Banned for lewdness in Boston and Detroit, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ultimately ruled the novel was obscene. The first item is a summation of the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s opinion, probably issued by the ACLU. The editorial by Lerner is accompanied by a cartoon showing four nefarious looking people sitting atop branches with the names “Bigot,” “Prude,” “Censor,” and noose-wielding “Anti-Negro.”
Wright, Richard. Black Boy: A Record of Childhood and Youth. New York: Harper & Bros, 1945.
In this important memoir, Richard Wright chronicles his upbringing. He describes his youth in the American South and his eventual move to Chicago, where he establishes his writing career and becomes politically active. Black Boy became an instant best-seller upon its publication in 1945 and Wright would go on to become one of the most acclaimed authors of the twentieth century.
Brooks, Gwendolyn. Maud Martha. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1953.
Maud Martha is the scarce third book and only novel of poet Gwendolyn Brooks. It is made up of 34 vignettes which tell the story of a girl who becomes a woman in 1940s Black Chicago.
Wright, Richard. Black power: A Record of Reactions in a Land of Pathos. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1954.
In this work Richard Wright provides a record of his stay in and tour of the Gold Coast region of Africa in 1953.
DONT. A Magazine of Art and Literature. 1971.
This magazine was the art and literary journal for the District of Columbia Public Schools Literary Arts Program. Photographic evidence included on the back of the issue indicates that Black students in particular were primarily responsible for the production of the magazine that year. Accordingly, the issue offers a compelling snapshot of the region’s outreach efforts to the area’s underserved populations in an attempt to empower students of color with skills in design, printmaking, and publishing.
Major, Clarence. No: a Novel. New York: Emerson Hall Pub, 1973.
No is the second novel by this African American poet, novelist and painter.
Morrison, Toni, Kara Walker. Five Poems: the Gospel According to Toni Morrison. Las Vegas: Rainmaker Editions, 2002.
In 2002, Toni Morrison published a short collection of poetry entitled Five Poems. Printed by Peter Koch Printers, only four hundred and twenty five copies were issued by Rainmaker Editions of Las Vegas, Nevada. The five free verse poems are extraordinary because they represent Morrison’s first and only foray into verse, and also because each poem is accompanied by a silhouette image by contemporary artist Kara Walker. Surprisingly, these poems have yet to receive any critical attention and have been omitted from Morrison bibliographies.
African American Poetry, 2020. Special Collections also acquired published poetry by the following contemporary African American authors: Barbara Chase-Riboud, Angela Jackson, Adesanya Alakoye, Lyn [pseud. of Lyn A. Levy], Marion Nicholes, Mary Louise Vaughn Shirley Hopson, Jefffey Renard Allen, Thulani Davis, and Henry Dumas.
3. African Literature
Senghor, Léopold Sédar. Élégies pour la reine de Saba (pour deux Kôras et un balafong). Illustrated with 41 original lithographs by Serge Markó. Paris: Compagnie des Bibliophiles de l’Automobile Club de France, 2004.
The West African poet Léopold Sédar Senghor was the first black member of the French Academy and the first president of Senegal, a position he held for two decades. As a poet, Senghor became the foremost spokesman for the literary and artistic expression of the black African experience.
4. British Art and Literature
Lanquet, Thomas. Coopers Chronicle, Conteininge the Whole Discourse of the Histories as Well as the Realms. London: Thomas Berthelettes, 1560.
This English history, here printed in its first complete edition, includes revisions and edits that take the historical narrative up to what was then the present day reign of Elizabeth I. The chronicle thus provides a window into 16th century English current events, as well as how contemporaries were recording and making sense of their history.
Jemma, Cattherine. Miscellanies, in Prose and Verse. London: Printed for the author, 1766.
This is the first edition of this collection of poems by Catherine Jemmat (died 1766). Some of the poems seem to reflect aspects of Jemmat’s own difficult life: she suffered emotional and physical abuse at the hands of her father and husband, and wrote the poems in order to support herself and her family.
Cruikshank, George. Complete set of 40 Proof Plates on Chine Collé for the 1839 Chapman and Hall Edition of Dickens’ Sketches by Boz, including the title page. London: Chapman & Hall, 1839.
This unique proof set of George Cruikshank’s illustrations for a new edition of Charles Dickens’s early collection, Sketches by Boz, is an important addition to the comprehensive collection of the work of the British author in Special Collections. Special Collections also houses an important collection of the work of the British artist George Cruikshank.
5. History – General
Asai, Ryoi. Musashi abumi [Stirrups of Musashi Province]. Kyoto: Nakamura Matabei, 1661.
This compilation is the most complete record of the great Tokyo fire of 1657, which destroyed most of the capital city and was one of the greatest disasters in Japanese history. Both the text and the superb woodcuts vividly record the fire and the resulting terror of the residents. Asai (1612-1691), a samurai and Buddhist priest, was a popular writer of the early Edo period. This record of the great fire of Meireki is written in a storytelling style with the tale of a monk called Rakusai who lost his family in the fire. He meets an old acquaintance from his hometown during a pilgrimage across the country and recounts the story of the terrible event.
Gilpin-Fisher family papers, 1766-1836
The letters, documents and maps in this archive from a prominent Quaker family detail the expansion of family real estate and their paper mill along the Brandywine Creek in Delaware. The Fisher brothers–Thomas (1741-1810), Miers (1748-1819) and Samuel (1745-1834)–joined with their nephews Joshua Gilpin (1765-1841) and Thomas Gilpin (1776-1853) in aggressive acquisition of nearby real estate and water rights and the establishment of the Brandywine Paper Mill in 1787. The business affairs of the mill were conducted under the name of Joshua Gilpin & Co, and the Gilpins were the first American papermakers to experiment with chlorine bleaching of paper. They also built and patented the first American cylindrical papermaking machine. The collection includes two unrecorded early printed items: two legislative slips for the Pennsylvania General Assembly, 1793 and 1794, to incorporate a Company for opening a Canal and Lock Navigation on the waters of Brandywine Creek. This is an important collection relating to Delaware’s first paper mill and industrial expansion along the banks of the Brandywine Creek.
“Lysimachus.” Open letter sent to The American Sentinel addressed to John Q. Adams, President of the United States, circa 1828 [manuscript]
Written by a defender of Henry Clay, the author “Lysimachus” (historical bodyguard of Alexander the Great) castigated John Quincy Adams for using his political power to hire only those indebted to him. This political letter, intended for publication in the press, draws attention to partisan grievances around public figures of the period.
Malone, Thomas. Collection of World War II military correspondence, 1941-1945.
A native of Wilmington, Delaware, Thomas B. Malone graduated from the University of Delaware in June 1941. Following his graduation, Malone joined the United States Army and served in Africa and Europe. This collection consists of nearly 300 letters he wrote to his family and others while he was in the service.
Photograph album dedicated to Clare Booth Luce, 1947-1950.
Heavily annotated, this album documents political and social activities of Clare Booth Luce (1903-1987). She was a journalist, author of The Women, a converted Catholic, and a conservative figure who represented Connecticut’s 4th District in Congress (1943-1947). Lucewas the first American woman appointed to a major ambassadorial position abroad (Italy, 1953-1956). The volume contains black-and-white and tinted photographs, color postcards, clippings, and manuscript captions, altogether providing unique biographical information.
6. History – Travel
Thorndike, Alice (b. 1886). European travel journal, June 21-November 10, 1897.
Eleven-year-old Alice Thorndike dutifully recorded her impressions on this five-month Grand Tour through France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and Italy. She traveled with her family, from Manchester, Essex County, Massachusetts, writing about the usual churches, museums and mountain sites on their itinerary. But she also noted transportation modes, street occupations, and was particularly interested in other children playing and their toys. Her journal is illustrated with drawings, travel ephemera and photographs, providing an engaging juvenile perspective on the Grand Tour experience of Americans abroad.
Howell, Mrs. G.N. Memoirs of South America [scrapbook], December 21, 1920-March 21, 1921.
Mrs. Howell, her husband and her teenage daughter, of Portland, Oregon, embarked on a three-month journey by boat and train to Panama, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and Barbados. Photographs and travel ephemera from this family vacation thoroughly illustrate her travel diary and narrative in these two volumes.
Michelle Fryer papers relating to her Bolivian incarceration on drug charges, 1976-1978.
Michelle Fryer (born 1957) of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, was held for 11 months in a Bolivian jail on illegal drug possession charges and trafficking while she was vacationing in La Paz. She was imprisoned and detained at the Carcel de Mujeres in the Zona de Obrajes for possession of cocaine on June 22, 1976, and eventually released on May 14, 1977 “due to lack of evidence.” Fryer was 21 years old and visiting La Paz with her fiancé Daniel Sullivan (1944-1986), who was also jailed along with 32 other Americans charged under strict Bolivian anti-drug trafficking laws. Throughout her incarceration, her parents were deeply involved in an effort to secure the release of all of the incarcerated Americans. The letters and legal documents in this collection are from multiple parties, including Michelle, other prisoners, missionaries aiding the prisoners, lawyers, members of Congress representing their constituents, and friends and family. The collection provides a glimpse of the Bolivian justice system pertaining to anti-narcotic enforcement of the 1970s, but also puts into perspective the differences between American and Bolivian prisons, crime/cultural statistics, and punishment. The letters from Michelle Fryer are especially detailed about her case, including Bolivian drug policies and legal appeals, but also reflect her own personal narrative and serve as a psychological record of an incarcerated American woman abroad.
7. LGBTQ Material
Strange, Michael. Who Tells Me True. York: Scribner’s, 1940.
This memoir is the autobiography of Blanche Oelrichs, one-time debutante turned poet, playwright, suffragist and actress, who took the name Michael Strange to distance her sometimes erotic work from her societal reputation. The author inscribed this copy in the year of publication to Irma Wyckoff, secretary to editor Maxwell Perkins at Scribner’s publishing company.
Friend, Robert (1913-1998). Robert Friend papers.
American-born poet and translator Robert Friend settled in Israel in 1950, where he lived the rest of his life. He taught English and American Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for over thirty years. He was well known in Israel as an English-language poet and a translator of Hebrew poetry.
Flyers advertising Lesbian Events, Venues, and Organizations in New York City, circa 1991-1997.
These flyers and brochures are related to pride events in New York, like the Annual Dyke March (as of 2020 in its 27th year) and the Outdoor Dyke Dance. It contains promotions from organizations such as The Adventure Social Club for Lesbians, The Lesbian Avengers, and LUST (Lesbians Undoing Sexual Taboos), providing a snapshot of lesbian activism of the era.
8. Lincoln Collection (History)
Simon Greenleaf memorial scrapbook. Boston, 1853-1854.
Probably compiled by his grieving widow, Hannah Greenleaf, this memorial volume includes obituaries, clippings, and correspondence from students, colleagues, friends and public admirers. Greenleaf (1783-1853) was an eminent jurist, author, and Harvard law professor who wrote books on the law, Christian Apologetics, and the Liberian Constitution. Greenleaf was a leader in the Massachusetts Colonization Society, affording a glimpse through an historical figure into this pre-Civil War solution to slavery in America.
Darley, Felix Octavius Carr. On the March to the Sea. [Hartford]: H.H. Willes, .
This large framed engraving by the important American illustrator, F.O.C. Darley, who resided for much of his life in Claymont, Delaware, depicts Major General William Tecumseh Sherman’s infamous march across Georgia to Savannah. The print shows Sherman viewing his Union troops destroying railroad tracks, telegraph poles, burning buildings and razing the landscape. The print is an important addition to the Library’s Delaware Collection as well as to the Lincoln Collection.
Marinetti, F. T. Les mots en liberté futuristes. Milan: Edizioni Futuriste di Poesia, 1919.
This collection of “free words,” or “parole in libertà” was written by Marinetti during the Balkan War and WWI. The imprint was the banner Marinetti dedicated from this point forward to Futurism and avant garde poetry rejected by more conservative editors. It is an important addition to the Library collection on Marinetti and Futurism.
Padgett, Ron. Summer Balloons. Tulsa: published by the author, 1960.
This privately printed collection of poems is the first book by the American author Ron Padgett.
Atwood, M.E. [Margaret]. Double Persephone. Toronto: Hawkshead Press, 1961.
This collection of poems is the first edition of the Canadian author’s scarce first book. According to Atwood, she and a friend hand-set the text and printed it on a small flat-bed press in an edition of 220 copies. She also designed and printed the cover and sold the book for 50¢ each.
Padgett, Ron. Quelques Poèmes / Some Translations / Some Bombs. Privately published, 1963.
This collection of poems is a scarce, early work by the American poet Ron Padgett. From Padgett’s personal library, the book includes illustrations by the New York School artist Joe Brainard.
Di Prima, Diane. Hotel Albert. New York: Poet’s Press, 1968.
This poetry chapbook is one of 12 specially-bound, lettered copies signed by the author with the drawings hand colored by her. These special copies were for di Prima’s personal use.
Bowles, Paul. Letters to Carol Ardman, 1970-1990
Carol Ardman, an admirer of Jane Bowles, befriended her husband, the American expatriate author and composer Paul Bowles, during an extended visit to Tangier. This collection of 228 letters from Paul Bowles, written to Ardman after she returned to New York and lasting until his death, reveals their intimate friendship and complements the extensive Paul Bowles papers in Special Collections. Ardman wrote a memoir of her relationship with the Bowleses, Tangier Love Story: Jane Bowles, Paul Bowles, and Me.
10. Mark Samuels Lasner Collection
Bright, Henry Arthur. Autograph letters signed to Hugh Bright, 1874-1884.
Ship-owner, antiquary, bibliophile, and occasional poet Henry Arthur Bright became Nathaniel Hawthorne’s closest English friend when the author of The Scarlet Letter served as American consul in Liverpool. In 1852 Bright toured the United States, keeping a diary which remains one of the most thorough (and somewhat less prejudiced) accounts of African-American life in the years before the Civil War. In these 22 letters to his son, Bright gives fatherly advice and tells of his activities, travels, and associations he cultivated with various writers.
Coleridge, Mary E. (Mary Elizabeth). Mary Elizabeth Coleridge papers, 1881–1904.
These 45 autograph letters from the poet, novelist, classicist, and critic Mary E. Coleridge to her cousin, Charlotte Elizabeth Jameson Greenway, together with with related correspondence from relatives, provide a detailed, vivid account of the social and cultural life of a lesbian New Woman and her extended, well-connected family. (Mary Coleridge was the great-niece of Samuel Taylor Coleridge.)
Gaskell, Elizabeth Cleghorn. Cranford, by the Author of “Mary Barton,” “Ruth,” &c. London: Chapman & Hall, 1853.
Gaskell’s best-known novel (recently adapted for television) depicts life in a mid-Victorian country town. This is a rare presentation copy of the first edition.
Greenaway, Kate. Vera Evelyn Samuel Her Book [bookplate], pencil and watercolor on paper, 1899.
Greenway worked for two years on the bookplate for the young daughter of her patron Sir Stuart Montagu Samuel—as witnessed by these 12 pencil sketches which accompany the finished design. Vera Evelyn Samuel married (1914) Jack Cohen, of the family which owned Lewis’s, the Liverpool department store. Cohen was wounded while serving in France during World War I (losing both legs) and became an advocate for the disabled, fellow veterans in particular. He was one of the founders of the British Legion and received a knighthood.
Hope, Anthony. Anthony Hope papers, 1894–ca. 1976
The 300 letters and documents in this archive trace the publishing history of The Prisoner of Zenda, Hope’s ever-popular romance, from the letter offering the book to publisher J. W. Arrowsmith, in 1894, through later editions, drama and film adaptations, and translations well into the twentieth century. Much is revealed regarding Anglo-American publishing practices, especially the role of the literary agent, A. P. Watt.
Johnson, E. Pauline. The White Wampum. Tekahionwake. London: John Lane; Boston: Lamson, Wolfe & Co., 1895.
Of British-Mohawk ancestry, Pauline Johnson was the first indigenous Canadian to achieve international, and long-lasting, literary fame. This is her first book, a collection of sketches brought out in London by John Lane, the publisher of The Yellow Book.
Moulton-Barrett, Alfred. Elizabeth Barrett Browning [sketch], pencil on paper, May 1843.
Portraits of writers and artists are a particular strength of the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection. This sketch of Elizabeth Barrett was done by her brother at the time she met Robert Browning. She is depicted holding her cocker spaniel, Flush, the subject of Virginia Woolf’s 1933 “biography.”
The Portrait Birthday-Book of Famous Names: Containing the Birthdays of Seventeen Hundred Distinguished Persons and Three Hundred and Sixty-Six Medallion Portraits. London: Seeley and Co….H. Frowde, .
“Birthday books” printed with blank spaces intended for the signatures of friends or celebrities, are said to be a Victorian invention. Here, the Glasgow art dealer William Craibe Angus, collected autograph entries representative of the arts, literature, and politics of the latter half of the 19th century, including what is probably the last-ever signature of John Ruskin (1899) in the box corresponding to February 8. Others who signed their names include Henry Irving, Ellen Terry, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Ruskin’s nemesis, James McNeill Whistler.
Rossetti, Dante Gabriel. The House of Life: Sonnets and Songs of Dante Gabriel Rossetti; Illustrated by Phoebe Anna Traquair. Edinburgh: William J. Hay at the Knox House, 1904.
Phoebe Anna Traquair (1852-1936) was an important illustrator, painter, and embroiderer, and a key figure in the Scottish Arts and Crafts movement, being the first woman elected to the Royal Scottish Academy. This photographic facsimile of an extraordinary illuminated manuscript shows the strong influence of Rossetti’s art and poetry and is held by only seven libraries worldwide. Traquair inscribed this copy to her son Roney in 1907.
Vallance, Aymer. The Art of William Morris Recorded by Aymer Vallance; with Reproductions from Designs and Fabrics Printed in the Colours of the Originals; Examples of the Type and Ornaments Used at the Kelmscott Press … London: Printed at the Chiswick Press ; and published by George Bell & Sons, 1897.
Authorized by Morris before his death, Vallace’s account was the first extensive treatment of the poet-designer-printer-socialist’s work. The many full-page plates, reproducing wallpapers and textiles in their true colors, are not only an important reference source for the decorative arts but remarkable examples of contemporary printing technologies.
Cabinet cards and one tin-type of African-Americans, mostly San Antonio, Texas, 1890-1910.
This is an unspecified family collection of twenty period mounted photographs, 12 of which bear photographers’ stamps and several of which have individual names. Most of these are from San Antonio but two are from Waco, and one photograph has the place name of Oupelosas, Louisiana. The group has been added to the Black portrait photograph collection in Special Collections.
Photographs of the construction of the shipping steamer Francis Hanify, 1913-1914.
The steamer Francis Hanify was built by Harlan and Hollingsworth in the shipyards of Wilmington, Delaware, to serve as a lumber freighter on the Pacific Coast. The Francis Hanify was commissioned by J.R. Hanify & Co., a large-scale lumber operation working the forests and mills of Washington, Oregon, and northern California. The 62 photographs here depict numerous aspects of construction from framing to launch, and reflect pre-World War I industry in Wilmington.
Hand-colored photograph of a Black man in a bowler hat, circa 1920s
This large (20 inch x 16 inch) hand-colored portrait of an unidentified Black man in a suit and bowler hat is a fine specimen for photographic study. It has been added to the Black portrait photograph collection in Special Collections.
Photograph album of New York Police Department vice squad mugshots, 1930s
An unusual photographic genre, these are the booking portraits taken after arrests. This album includes notations of crimes committed and affiliations with organized crime of the era.
12. Printing History and Material Culture
[Biblia Latina]. Nuremberg : Anton Koberger, November 16, 1475]
The first printing of Anton Koberger’s Latin Bible, this book is an important example from the early years of printing. Koberger, a former goldsmith, was one of the most prolific printers of the fifteenth century.
Falcot, P. Traité encyclopédique et méthodique de la fabrication des tissus : ouvrage indispensable a mm. les fabricants, directeurs de manufactures, dessinateurs, chefs-d’atelier, contre-maitres, en un mot a toutes les personnes qui veulent appredendre la fabrication des tissus, ou en suivre les progrès. Paris, 1844-1845.
This technical manual examines all forms of weaving, but focuses particularly upon the Jacquard loom, which was one of the first “programmed” devices. The weaving instructions were stored on what was called a “train” of punched cards that were fed by a person through the Jacquard mechanism that controlled the loom. The Jacquard loom is often viewed as a precursor to the computer.
[Perfume recipes, ca. 1870].
This original manuscript contains 64 different recipes for scents. The manuscript is an important addition to the extensive collection of food and chemical recipe books in Special Collections.
Jaches, Leopold; Stewart, William H.; Imboden, H.M. (eds.). The American Atlas of Stereoroentgenology: A Quarterly, 1916-1919.
This unique quarterly journal contains a variety of articles from physicians exploring the use of a stereoscopic technology for their research. These original issues of the journal include mounted photographs, which, being modeled on the stereograph as doubled images, could be viewed on the period’s stereoscopes. Much like William Charles Moore’s Geography through the Stereoscope, Student’s Stereoscopic Field Guide (1907), or Daniel John Cunningham’s Stereoscopic Studies of Anatomy (1909), the journal was in line with a number other fields that had attempted to use this technology for research and education. The examples in this journal include articles that allowed students and researchers to examine stereoscopically, such complicated diseases and injuries as cancer, tuberculosis, bone fractures, and even a bullet wound.
Collection of advertising ephemera related to American housekeeping and home-making, circa 1870-1960.
Sometimes promoted as “mother’s helpers,” a wide range of domestic aide products marketed to /American women are represented in this collection. The collection comprises more than 100 items of trade cards, brochures, flyers, and pamphlets.
Fern Trumbull Hubbard home economics teaching and publicity materials, circa 1930-1939.
Part of a new age of professional women, Fern Trumbull Hubbard was the home economist for Edison General Electric in the 1930s. She developed and conducted cooking classes around the country to teach women how to use new electric ranges and appliances that were quickly replacing old wood cooking stoves in American homes.