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July 23, 2012

Samples from The Kelvin Smith Library Bookplate Collection

Special Collections is the repository of a collection of over 5,000 bookplates from a handful of collectors who pursued that fascinating hobby. Begun with a gift in memory of their daughter Lucia to Western Reserve University by Mr. & Mrs. Paul Lemperly in 1917 the collection continued to grow through the 1980’s with gifts from Clara Prentis Sherwin, Alice S. Tyler and Elizabeth M. Richards.

As we have recently started to re-examine this collection it has become clear that an extension of the gifts bestowed by our small group of collectors has been uncovering tiny examples of work by local artists which we might not otherwise have come to know.

Seen here are five bookplates created by Cleveland artist Kalman Kubinyi for prominent Clevelanders, probably in the 1930’s. Kubinyi wove representative elements of his clients’ lives into miniature designs which they used to define their personal libraries.

Bookplates from Case Western Reserve University

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July 17, 2012

The Printer's Art and the Playbill

Though the Cleveland Play House struggled early on to find it’s financial and managerial footing, there was never a lack of artistic talent available to produce first class promotional material for a wide variety of productions each season. By 1922, the number of hand-drawn programs and playbills had been augmented by professionally typeset works by local printers. The Play House was the recipient of two beautiful works of art by master printer Horace Carr in the playbills he created for The Tragicall History of Doctor Faustus (March 31st to April 9th, 1922) and The Tragicall History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (January 12th to 29th, 1923)


Carr, Cleveland’s most celebrated printer, enjoyed an international reputation as an innovative and meticulous creator of typeset works. He was an active participant in the Cleveland art scene from the establishment of his Cleveland printing business in 1893 to his death in 1941. Carr was a student of the earliest printers and a devotee of the practices developed in the hand press period as well as those refined in the works of William Morris. Of note in the playbills featured here is Carr’s signature use of the Caslon typeface and pleasing arrangement of text and ornamentation to convey the spirit of the Elizabethan stage of Marlowe and Shakespeare.


For more information about the Cleveland Play House Archive please contact Special Collections or visit the Cleveland Play House web site.

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July 06, 2012

Summer Interns

Our processing efforts received a boost this summer through the work of three students, Mike Muth, Michael Wilson, and Char'ta Cleggett.

Michael and Char'ta were part of University Circle, Inc's Future Connections program, a summer internship program for rising high school seniors. Mike joined us as an intern in Kent State University School of Library and Information Science's Circle Undergraduate Internship Program.

Together, our students contributed over 160 hours, during which they:
• Physically processed over 20 linear feet of photographs of the Cleveland Play House's 860 productions from the 1917 through 1985 seasons.
• Created item-level descriptions of nearly 950 photographs.
• Digitized over 155 photographs.

Besides this very high level of productivity, Mike, Michael, and Char'ta asked stimulating questions and made helpful suggestions for improving our processing procedures.

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