November 25, 2013

Monitoring the Environment

If asked, many people would define a library as a building that houses books. While this is an adequate description, many people don’t realize the sheer amount of personnel, knowledge and work needed in order to keep a library running smoothly, efficiently, and into the future. Books don’t magically appear on the shelves, nor do they stay pristine since their acquisition. Like objects and paintings in a museum, books prefer certain environmental conditions.

Two of some of the most important controllable conditions (non-controllable would be: theft, fire, dog-chewing, etc.) are temperature and humidity. Since books are made of different materials such as paper, cloth, leather, glue, etc., determining an ideal environment is tricky. Each material has its own perfect temperature and humidity level that would ensure longevity, yet not inflict damage.

Extremes should be avoided, book-with-mold.jpgas these are the most likely to cause damage to library collections. The fluctuation from one extreme to another forces the materials of the book to expand and contract. Even though the materials used to make a book are different, many are hygroscopic, as they readily absorb and release moisture. And since there are different materials, they do this at different rates. These changes affect the very structure of the book, but extreme changes in temperature and humidity also encourage chemical and biological changes to occur. For example, if the area is hot and dry, the acids within the paper of the books accelerate to make the pages brittle. A brittle page is more likely to break rather than be turned or folded. However, if the area is humid, then mold is likely to form, which can stain pages, spread to the rest of the library, and pose a health concern.

Where a book is placed is of great concern if the book’s future is valued. Keeping in mind the guidelines for temperature and humidity, book shelving should not be placed on outside walls. For those who have spent any time here in Ohio, it’s a well known fact the temperature gets very cold for a good deal of the year! Walls, and the shelving on them, that have a face to the outside are more susceptible to wild temperature fluctuations than those within the building. While the chilliness of the air may be beneficial to the books, the dampness contained within that air could be detrimental. Inside factors must be taken into account as well, as books placed near radiators or air conditioners also face those great fluctuations.
Ideally, books should be kept in a cool, dry, and dark place. However, this is far from ideal if the book is to actually be used.

Many conservators recommend that an acceptable environment for books that are in circulation would be a temperature of about 70°F, with a relative humidity roughly 50%. However, these numbers are guidelines, and while they are important, it is better that the items have a stable environment, rather than one with a perfect temperature or humidity. In order to monitor these conditions, Kelvin Smith employs the use of HOBOs. hobo pic.jpg

HOBOs are a type of data logger produced by the company Onset, and shown here roughly actual size. While there are many types of data loggers to choose from, which can log information on anything from temperature to voltage to light intensity, the HOBOs Kelvin Smith uses record those two conditions that are very important to the longevity of books: temperature and humidity. The data loggers are strategically placed in collections at high risk of damage and are checked routinely. The HOBOs collect the temperature and humidity levels once every hour, and every month this information is downloaded. Through the software that came with Onset’s HOBO data logger, the information can then be graphed, saved and analyzed.

thermohrgrograph.jpgThroughout other parts of the library, thermo-hygrographs keep a vigil on the environment as well. This information provides personnel a picture of what is going on temperature and humidity-wise within the library, and allows them to take action if necessary.

For more on caring for books, and other objects, the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works has a lot of great information, as well as the
Northeast Document Conservation Center.

There are many companies that produce data loggers, software and other equipment to keep collections happy, but a few include: Onset, which was mentioned above, as well as University Products.

Posted by rem13 at 07:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 30, 2013

Natural Science Highlights: Perry's Conchology

Perry title Final.jpg

The rare book holdings include one of the most beautiful color seashell books ever published, Conchology, or, The natural history of shells, by George Perry, which appeared in 1811. In the opening paragraph of his Introduction he states: "The study of Shells or testaceous animals, is a branch of natural history which, although not greatly useful to the mechanical arts, or the human economy, is nevertheless, by the beauty of the subjects it comprises, most admirably adapted to recreate the senses, to improve the taste or invention of the Artist, and, finally and insensibly, to lead to the contemplation of the great excellence and wisdom of the Divinity in their formation." The introduction which also explains the arrangement of the work into two sections, univalves and bivalves, is followed by sixty-one exquisite, hand colored aquatint plates. The plates are signed as being published by William Miller, a prominent Scottish line-engraver who was best known in his day for his reproductions of the works of J.M.W. Turner. In the introduction credit for the original drawings and engravings is given to a Mr. John Clarke. It is very likely that the work was done by George Perry, who was a skilled artist, and others who were less skilled than he was. Antiquarian booksellers relate that Perry's Conchology is the only seashell book with aquatint illustrations but another has been identified. The work was printed at London by William Bulmer, one of the best printers of the time, who strove to improve the standards of English typography.

Although Perry was a distinguished English naturalist, the work was criticized during his lifetime for its use of vibrant pastel colors and shell forms that were not always true to life. His choice of nomenclature was also criticized but many of the generic and specific names he used are now accepted and used today.

Plate 25 Perry Final.jpg

Perry's text was based on the work of Linnaeus and the Frenchmen Jean Guillaume Bruguière, a zoologist whose main interest was snails and Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, who wrote a major work on the classification of invertebrates. The plates illustrate specimens from Australia, New Zealand, the South Seas, Pacific Ocean and Tahiti. Many of the shells that appear in the illustrations formed part of the collections of private individuals. It is thought that some of the shells were from a collection that belonged to Elizabeth Bligh, whose husband was William Bligh, captain of the Bounty when its crew carried out its famous mutiny in 1789.

This monumental work comes to the rare book collection from the library of Dr. Jared P. Kirtland (1793-1877). Kirtland was a physician and naturalist who was born in Connecticut and moved to Ohio in 1823. He founded the first scientific organization in Cleveland, the Cleveland Academy of Natural Sciences, which was formally established in 1845. This Academy was the forerunner of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Kirtland's contributions also include his establishment of the Cleveland Medical College which became the Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

For more on the Conchology see
George Perry's molluscan taxa and notes on the editions of his Conchology of 1811 by Richard E. Petit

For more information about the copy held by the Department of Special Collections at the Kelvin Smith Library contact us at 216-368-0189.

Plate 25: Conus

Posted by mxb19 at 05:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 19, 2012

The House of Elsevier

Republica Venetorum 350 height.jpg

Our postings on the great publishers and printers continues with the house of Elsevier. The Elseviers were a Dutch family of printers, publishers and booksellers who flourished in Holland for over one hundred years from about 1585 until 1712. They were one of many fine printing establishments that conducted business in more than one city. During the period they were in operation Holland was a maritime world power and enjoyed what has come to be known as the Dutch Golden Age. Literature, science and the arts flourished with painters of the era including Rembrandt and Vermeer. It was also the golden age of the Dutch book trade. Elsevier books were attractive and well made, inexpensive and sold all over Europe. The founding member of the establishment was Louis Elsevier (1546-1617) who was most likely born at Louvain in Belgium. He left there around 1565 and went to Antwerp where he worked a short time for Christopher Plantin. After working for Plantin he moved from place to place until he settled in Leiden in 1580. At that time Leiden was the most important city in Holland next to Amsterdam. After initial failures at bookbinding and printing he made his first attempt at publishing in 1582 with I. Drusii Ebraicarum Quaestionum. He was given space at the University of Leiden in 1587 and published for himself and for the school.

During the last quarter of the sixteenth century and the first half of the seventeenth century the University of Leiden grew to become one of the finest schools in Europe. It attracted an international faculty with some of the foremost scholars of the day including Joseph Juste Scaliger, Claude Saumaise and Daniel Heinsius. Almost half of the student body came from foreign countries including Norway, Ireland, Spain, Poland, Turkey and Persia. The Elseviers maintained a relationship with the University for most of the seventeenth century and it is very likely the students took their books back home with them.

In addition to the Leiden office, subsidiary branches were set up during Louis's lifetime at The Hague and Utrecht. The shop at The Hague was in operation from 1590 until 1665 and was located in the Great Hall. The shop at Utrecht was not as important as the one at The Hague and less is known about the business conducted there. It is known that the shop was established in 1600 by Joost, the fourth son of Louis, at the sign of the Red Goose.

Cicero1 350 height.jpg

When Lewis died in 1617 his business at Leiden was taken over by his hiers. The Leiden establishment achieved its greatest prominence under the direction of Bonaventure (1583-1652)and Abraham Elsevier (1592-1652). Abraham was the son of Matthias (d. 1640) who was one of the founding Louis's sons. Bonaventure was Matthias's brother. Abraham had a son Isaac (1596-1651) who established his own printing business and produced work for his father, uncle and other booksellers. In 1629 Abraham and Bonaventure began a series of duodecimo books, small pocket size editions, of the Latin classics that made the Elsevier name famous. The volumes produced in this series didn't come to an end until 1665. They produced another series of small books known as "The Republics" between 1626 and 1649 which gained immediate popularity. Each volume in the series was devoted to the history, economy, geography and other facts about a country in Africa, Asia, Europe or the Near East. These books may be considered the precursors of modern day travel guides. Some texts were reprints of older titles like Contareni's book on Venice and others included only excerpts from older works. There were also newly commissioned titles issued in the Republics series.

Around 1655, after management of the Leiden shop passed out of the hands of Bonaventure and Abraham, the main Elsevier establishment became the one based at Amsterdam. It was under the direction of Louis (1604-1670), the son of the founder of the family business, and his cousin Daniël (1626-1680). Since they were not affiliated with a university it was not as necessary for them to print books about theology and the classics. Their publications included the works of Erasmus, Bacon, Molière and Descartes among others. When Daniël died in 1680 he was one of Europe's famous publishers and with his death the Amsterdam house came to an end. The era of the Elsevier publishing dynasty as a whole came to a rather undistinguished close at Leiden with the death of Abraham in 1712. Abraham (1653-1712) was the great-great grandson of the founding father Louis. Abraham did not apply himself to the responsibility of maintaining the business that was still located on the premises of the University of Leiden. In fact, the senate of the University complained in 1711 about the chickens and dogs kept around the shop that were making too much of a mess and too much noise.

The subjects most published by all the Elseviers were religion and theology followed by law, politics, the classics, French plays and belles lettres. They were also known for their books published in non-Roman alphabets. The years the Elseviers were in business coincided with a period of intense study of Semitic languages in the Netherlands. They sometimes published under a fictitious imprint or anonymously if the books were about religious or political subjects that could have been detrimental to their business reputation. As a whole the family members did not have the best educations and were not scholars. The quality of their texts was dependent upon the caliber of their proof-readers and by the time of the Elseviers the era of the scholar proof-reader had for the most part ended. However, in the main, their texts were well edited and reliable and intended for the scholarly and educated classes. Although they are best known for their small format books, duodecimos like the Republics and classics series, the Elseviers also published larger books, octavos and folios. No matter how one chooses to evaluate their small books the Elseviers deserve credit for providing good books at affordable prices. The worth of these may be judged from the tendency of many other contemporary printers and publishers to imitate or forge their productions. Some of the more learned members of the day were not greatly enthusiastic about the small Elsevier books but others valued them highly. Indeed, one Sir Thomas Browne who died in 1682 had stipulated in his will that "on my coffin when in the grave I desire may be deposited in its leather case or coffin my Elzevir's Horace … worn out with and by me."

The Elsevier name came into use again in 1880 when Jacobus Robbers named his publishing company "Elsevier." He even used the printer's device that Isaac, the printer at Leiden, had used. An old man stands underneath an elm tree which is considered the tree of knowledge. The motto, "non solus," means "not alone." The Elsevier name is still with us today as a part of the Reed-Elsevier conglomerate which is one of the major publishers of healthcare and scientific literature.

Elsivier device 200 height.jpg

Davies, David William, The World of the Elseviers, 1580-1712. The Hague: Nijoff, 1954.

Glaister, Geoffrey Ashall, Encylopedia of the Book.. New Castle, Del.: Oak Knoll Press; London: British Library, 1996

Hartz, Sem, The Elseviers and their contemporaries: an illustrated commentary. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1955.

Lyons, Martyn, Books: a Living History. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011.

Steinberg, Sigfrid Henry, Five Hundred Years of Printing. London: British Library; New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Books, 1996.

Traister, Daniel, "The Elsevier Republics" in The Elsevier Republics: Guide to the Microfiche Edition Bethesda, MD: Congressional Information Services,Inc., 1988.

Image 1 above: Engraved title page from Casparis Contareni's De republica Venetorum libri quinque published at Leiden in 1628. One of the titles from The Republics series.

Image 2 above: Engraved title page from volume one of the works of Cicero published at Leiden in 1642. One of the titles from the Latin classics series.

Image 3 above: Printer's device used by the Elseviers from the title page of Dan. Heinsii De tragoediae constitvtione liber. In qvo inter caetera tota de hac Aristotelis sententia dilucide explicatur. Editio auctior multo. Cui & Aristotelis De poëtica libellus, cum ejusdem notis & interpretatione, accedit. Lvgd. Batav., ex officinâ Elsevirianâ, 1643.

For more information contact the Department of Special Collections at the Kelvin Smith Library at 216-368-0189

Posted by mxb19 at 07:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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

Posted by exo2 at 06:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 18, 2012

Christopher Plantin of Antwerp

Ruebens Plantin Blog.jpg

The Department of Special Collections begins a series of postings highlighting the great printers and publishers with Christopher Plantin of Antwerp. Plantin turned Antwerp into the most important center for book production during the second half of the 16th century and he is one of the greatest names in the history of publishing. Born in France around 1520, he learned the printing trade in Paris at the time the work of the printers of France reigned supreme. He settled in Antwerp in 1549 and set up a business as a book binder and bookseller. Antwerp was an attractive location because of its prosperous printing trade known for producing quality work. Plantin's career as a book binder came to a premature end when his right arm was injured when he was attacked by a band of drunken men who mistook him for someone else.

The Plantin Press was established in 1555 and issued as its first work the Institution d'une Fille de Noble Maison. Soon after he established his printing establishment he surrounded himself with a group of scholars, linguists and engravers. By 1576 there were 22 presses in operation. This was production on a massive scale compared to the average printing shop of the day which employed two to six presses at most. The Biblia regia, a massive, eight volume polyglot Bible produced between 1568 and 1573 in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Syriac and Aramaic, is considered to be Plantin's masterpiece. It was to be financed by King Philip II of Spain but he never supplied the funds he had promised and as a result Plantin was nearly financially ruined by the venture. This same Philip appointed Plantin court printer in 1570 and named him supervisor of all Dutch printing.

Pitts Plantin Device.jpg

During his lifetime Plantin produced nearly 2000 titles at the sign of the Golden Compass and published in a wide variety of subjects including the classics, Bibles, dictionaries, medical books and emblem books. He also advanced the process of music printing and published the work of contemporary Dutch and Flemish botanists, geographers and cartographers. Plantin's types were French and he purchased types and strikes at the sales of Simon Colines' and Garamond's material. He commissioned Robert Granjon to design several series of types and engaged Guillaume Le Bé for his Hebrew type. Plantin employed more type cutters in his foundry attached to the printing house. The works of the press influenced trends in book illustration of the time. Plantin's establishment was the one chiefly responsible for spurring the popularity of the extravagant engraved copper plate title pages that spread over Europe (For more on this subject see: Christopher Plantin and Engraved Book Illustrations in Sixteenth-Century Europe. Karen L. Bowne and Dirk Imhof. Cambridge ; New York, N.Y. : Cambridge University Press, 2008). The famous device used on his title pages after 1557 consists of a compass that is usually held by a disembodied hand in a circle which is accompanied by his personal motto "Labore et Contantia," By labor and constancy. The device also incorporated elaborate borders, foliage, human and animal figures, and architectural shapes which were subject to frequent change.


Plantin headed one of the most prosperous business
establishments of the time that stretched as far as north Africa where his agents sold his Hebrew Bibles to the Jewish congregations. However, his life was far from easy. Early on, in the year 1562, he escaped to Paris. It is thought he feared for his life because he was a member of a secret sect called "The Family of Love" and indeed, since three Antwerp printers had been executed for heresy his fears were not unfounded. While he was away his worldly possessions were dispersed and auctioned off including some of his printing presses, type and books. He was able to return two years later with his name cleared. For ten years the fate of the polyglot Bible, which nearly ruined him, languished as the theologians of Salamanca tried to have it placed on the Index librorum prohibitorum (List of Prohibited books). There was concern that problems would arise if the Bible fell into the hands of the lay people. After Antwerp was sacked by Spanish soldiers during the revolt of the Netherlands the resources of Plantin's establishment were severely diminished but he built up again during the ensuing period of peace and prospered. In 1583 he left Antwerp again and worked as printer to the university in Leiden until 1585. His sons-in-law Francis van Ravelingen (Raphelengius) and Jan Moerentorff (Moretus) kept the establishment operating in his absence.

Plantin died in 1589, the year after the defeat of the great Spanish Armada by the British, and was buried in Antwerp Cathedral. His printing establishment was carried on by his son-in-law Jan Moretus and his heirs until the nineteen century. In 1866 the press issued its last work and the business was shut down. The unique materials that had been accumulated over the centuries were kept and the building was made into the Plantin-Moretus Museum. The city of Antwerp acquired the museum in 1876 which remains a place of pilgrimage today.

Our featured work from the Plantin Press is a book of martyrs published in 1589, the second edition of Martyrology Romanum: ad novam Kalendarii rationem, et ecclesiasticae historiae veritatem restitutum / Gregorii XIII. Pont. Max. iussu editum. Accesserunt notationes atque tractatio de Martyrologio Romano: auctore Caesare Baronio Sorano. Below is the engraved frontispiece page and title page with Plantin's device.

300Plantin engraved title.jpg300 Second Plantin tp.jpg

To view the latest list of Plantin titles identified in the Special Collections rare book holdings search author "Plantin, Christophe ca. 1520-1589" in Euclid Plus.

Image 1 above: Portrait of Plantin by Peter Paul Ruebens painted between 1612 and 1616 after a 1584 portrait from the Wikimedia Commons
Image 2 above: Plantin Device from the Pitts Theological Digital Image Archive
Image 3 above: Printing presses at the Plantin-Moretus Museum, World Heritage Sites web page

For more information contact the Department of Special Collections at the Kelvin Smith Library at 216-368-0189

Posted by mxb19 at 07:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 22, 2012

Another highlight in honor of Charles Dickens 200th Birthday

The Cricket on the Hearth : a Fairy Tale of Home is the third of five Christmas books published by Dickens. It was originally published by Bradbury and Evans in 1846. Our featured work was printed by the prominent British private press, the Golden Cockerel Press, in a limited edition of 1500 copies in 1933. The Golden Cockerel Press was in operation from 1920 until 1960 and gained fame for its beautiful handmade books of classic literature that were produced in limited editions.

Facing page 6, plate 1: "The Perrybingle Family" The Cricket on the Hearth : a Fairy Tale of Home by Charles Dickens
Waltham Saint Lawrence, Eng. : The Golden Cockerel Press : Printed for the members of the Limited Editions Club, 1933

Posted by mxb19 at 08:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 17, 2012

Charles Dickens Bicentennial

Charles Dickens was born 200 years ago this month and literary institutions throughout the world are celebrating by sharing their holdings of his works. The Kelvin Smith Library Special Collections holds a representational sample of his publications and autographed letters donated over the years in support of the scholarly interests of our campus community.

We share here Bleak House by Charles Dickens, with illustrations by H.K. Browne. Published in London by Bradbury and Evans in 1853. It was issued in illustrated blue paper covers.


Bleak House. by Charles Dickens showing original blue paper covers.

The first edition of the novel appeared in 20 numbers issued monthly, from March, 1852, to September, 1853. Hablot Knight Browne (1815-1882) was one of the most prominent illustrators of the Victorian era. His work also commonly appears under his well known pseudonym ‘Phiz.’ Bleak House draws attention to the shortcomings of England’s Court of Chancery in which legal haggling could result in a case taking decades to be resolved. Our first edition set in serial format was the gift of Robert H. Jackson in 1984.


"A model of parental deportment" from No. 8, October 1852. Most numbers were illustrated with two plates.

If you are visiting campus be sure to stop in and view additional Dickens publications and letters on display in the Hatch reading room through mid-March.

Please do not hesitate to contact Special Collections for more information.

Posted by exo2 at 08:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 31, 2012

Ernest J. Bohn Political Memorabilia

Ernest John Bohn was always especially proud of two of his achievements: he wrote and obtained passage of the Ohio Public Housing Act, the first in the nation; and he was the first director of the Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA), the first housing authority organized in the United States. He was often referred to as "the father of public housing," a distinction based not only on his work in Cleveland and in Ohio, but also on his prominence on the national scene, his lobbying efforts, especially for the 1937 U.S. Housing Act, and his involvement in every housing advocacy group of consequence. At his retirement in 1968, he could claim credit for presiding over the building of 10,684 units of "decent, safe and sanitary housing...for low income and elderly families" and for planning for 1,885 more. He was clearly and proudly dedicated to the cause of housing.

Born in Sannicolau Mare, Romania, on May 12, 1901, Bohn immigrated to America with his widowed father in 1911. In 1919 he graduated from East Tech High School in Cleveland and went on to graduate from Adelbert College of Western Reserve University (WRU) in 1924 and the WRU Law School in 1926. He practiced law in Cleveland from 1926 to 1938.

Campaign button for Cleveland’s progressive (and Democratic) mayor Tom L. Johnson belonging to Bohn. Johnson died in 1911, the year young Ernest J. Bohn immigrated to America. “Tom L. Johnson & 3 cent Fare. circa 1907. 3.5 cm diameter” Johnson inspired reform candidates from both political parties

Before he found his life's work in the housing problems which confronted Cleveland in the great depression, Bohn was active in Cleveland and Ohio politics as a highly visible and often quoted Republican Party organizer and candidate. Among his papers is his usher’s pin and ribbon for the republican national convention, held in Cleveland in 1924. Early in his career he was elected to a term in the Ohio House of Representatives [1928], and from 1930 to 1940 he was elected to successive terms on the Cleveland City Council.

A cherished memento: Usher’s pin with ribbon: “Usher. Republican National Convention. Cleveland Ohio 1924. 12.5 cm (h) with white ribbon”

Bohn never lost sight of his goal to further the cause of public housing and though he remained devoted to the Republican Party he accepted the reality of politics which dictated that he work with politicians and government officials of all stripes in order to succeed.

As the Special Collections Research Center nears completion of an updated guide to The Ernest J. Bohn Housing and Planning Library we offer images of selected political memorabilia from the collection.


Campaign pins for Republican presidential candidates from left to right: “War in Europe. Peace in America. God Bless Wilson. circa. 1916. 2 cm. diameter”; “Keep Coolidge. circa. 1924. 1.5 cm. diameter”; “For President. Herbert Hoover. circa. 1928. 2 cm. diameter”; “Landon. Deeds Not Deficits. circa. 1936. 2 cm. diameter”

For additional information about the Ernest J. Bohn Housing & Planning Library contact the Special Collections Research Center in the Kelvin Smith Library at Case Western Reserve University.

Posted by exo2 at 10:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 03, 2012

2011 Views in Review

As the calendar page turns from 2011 to 2012 we would like to share more updates and interesting developments related to a few of last year’s topics:

Our August post on the survey of Special Collections World War I resources contained a reference to the Thomas Slavin gift of 50 images taken by commercial photographers Underwood & Underwood for distribution to news-bureaus during that era. The gift, noted then as "in process" has recently been added to Digital Case as The Underwood & Underwood. WWI Photographs.

"Disabled Heroes Being Taught New Trades." circa 1919 From the Underwood & Underwood Collection of World War I Photographs. Gift of Thomas Slavin

When we wrote about the collections in the Case Archive of Contemporary Science and Technology in September we could not foresee the events that would unfold bringing staff members into closer connection with History of Science and Technology groups meeting in Cleveland last fall. An invitation extended by NASA Chief Archivist Jane Odom presented an opportunity to archivists Helen Conger {University Archives) and Nora Blackman (Special Collections) to speak at the NASA Annual History Meeting on November 1st at the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland on our holdings related to T. Keith Glennan, President of CIT (1947-1966) and first NASA Administrator (1958-1961), and the Case Archive.

A second invitation was extended by Atsushi Akera (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Chair of the Engineering Education Working Group of The Prometheans - The Society for the History of Technology’s engineering SIG) to attend the November 5th session: Reexamining the Origins of the History of Technology at Case at the SHOT Annual Meeting.

The session featured the following papers, which underscored the value of our primary sources in the field of Engineering Education:

Bruce Seely (Michigan Technological University): Mel Kranzberg and SHOT’s Creation Story: “And How Does One Go About Forming a New Scholarly Society?”
Atsushi Akera (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute): Implementing Liberal-Professional Education at Case Institute of Technology
Robert C. Post (National Museum of American History): Mel Kranzberg’s Return to Ithaca

Lastly, in October we wrote about Octavofest activities in Special Collections. If you haven’t seen the results of the juried art competition be sure to read about the winners and view their submissions

Posted by exo2 at 04:00 PM | TrackBack

November 29, 2011

The Fritz Sage Darrow Papers in the Special Collections Research Center

In 1930, the Case Library, a private Cleveland, Ohio library affiliated with Western Reserve University (WRU) purchased the library of Fritz Sage Darrow. The library contained Darrow’s personal papers and his professional papers which included drafts, supporting documentation and rare books collected in his extensive research into the life and work of Francis Mercurius van Helmont, a 17th century alchemist, cabbalist and physician. James Holly Hanford, WRU professor of English and childhood friend of Darrow, took a keen interest in the disposition of the Darrow library, creating a six-page overview of the material around the time that the collection was acquired.

Hanford’s view was understandably trained on the Helmontia found in the collection and in preserving the final draft of Darrow’s Bibliography of Francis Mercurius van Helmont, but scholars have also shown interest in Darrow’s personal papers, particularly as they reflect his involvement in the International Theosophical Society and one of its earliest and most charismatic leaders, Katherine Tingley.

Darrow (1882-1929) was born in Rochester, New York in 1882 to Charles E. and Isabel Sage Darrow. He graduated from Harvard University (A.B., 1903, A.M., 1904, PhD, 1906) and earned many scholastic honors there including Harvard College Scholar (1902), John Harvard Scholar (1903), and Charles Eliot Norton Fellow. He was a Member of the American School of Classical Studies, Athens, Greece (1903-1904A)
Frontispiece with portraits of father and son as part of the elaborate engraving. From: Ortus Medicinae by Jean Baptiste van Helmont and edited by [his son] Francis Mercurius van Helmont. 1648. This volume was originally part of the library of Fritz Sage Darrow.

Darrow served as instructor of Classical Archeology in the Harvard Summer School (1906), Adjunct Professor of Greek at Dickenson College (1906-1907) and Professor of Greek at Drury College (1907-1910). He sought to write the definitive life of van Helmont, though for several reasons (primarily the war in Europe, family crises, and professional setbacks) he abandoned his years of scholarly effort in this area around 1915.

Also a prominent Theosophist, Darrow was the author of many works about that philosophy. He lived with his wife and children for a time at the International Theosophical Headquarters in Point Loma, California. After divorcing from his wife in 1919, Darrow returned to Rochester where he remarried and became director of the Rochester Business Institute. He died in 1929

Today, the bound volumes from the Darrow library are part of the Special Collections book collection, but are not described by their provenance except for the Case Library bookplate inside each cover.


The Fritz Sage Darrow Papers, dating from the years 1897-1920, consist of Darrow’s research regarding van Helmont, including most of the supporting documentation and a final draft of his Bibliography of Francis Mercurius van Helmont, many of his articles on Theosophy, as well as clippings and correspondence concerning his resignation from Drury College and his divorce.

We invite you to consult the finding aid for the Fritz Sage Darrow Papers for more information about Darrow and his work.

Posted by exo2 at 10:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 31, 2011

Project Update: The Kathryn Karipides Papers

In 2009-2010 we were presented with the personal papers of Kathryn Karipides, Samuel B. and Virginia C. Knight Professor of Humanities Emerita at Case Western Reserve University. Since that time Kelvin Smith Library staff have been hard at work arranging and describing the gift materials for addition to our collection. Last week saw the final stage of the project brought to completion as electronic copies of dance performances choreographed and performed by Karipides from 1974-1998 were added to Digital Case. The performance videos join the photographs and programs added to our digital repository in 2010. Archival arrangement and description, or, "processing" of the physical material was completed earlier this month and researchers are invited to to use the collection in person in the Special Collections Research Center or online in Digital Case. The finding aid for The Kathryn Karipides Papers provides links to all the digital content.

Dancers top to bottom: Mark Haugland, Eileen Pearlman, Kathryn Karipides. Performance: Mirror, Mirror. 1970. Photograph by Richard Pitschke. From the Kathryn Karipides Papers.

Kathryn Karipides was born on February 28, 1934. A native of Canton, Ohio, she received the B.S. degree in Physical Education from Miami University (Ohio), and her M.A. in Physical education from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). Karipides trained with Martha Graham, Hanya Holm and Erik Hawkins. She began her career at the Flora Stone Mather College for Women, of Western Reserve University, as an instructor in the Physical Education Department. She was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 1963, was made full professor in 1980 and was named the Samuel B. and Virginia C. Knight Professor of Humanities in 1989. She was appointed Knight Professor Emerita in 1996. In 1975 she accepted co-director responsibility for the Graduate Dance Program with Kelly Holt. Additional administrative responsibilities included serving as Acting Chair of the Theatre Department in 1985 and returning from retirement to serve as Interim Deputy Provost for the 2003-2004 academic year.

After graduating from Miami University in 1956 she came to the Flora Stone Mather College for Women to teach folk, social and modern dancing in the Physical Education Department. She is largely responsible for the development of the dance program at CWRU, which grew from the early physical education classes taught to Mather students into nationally recognized undergraduate and graduate programs within the Theatre Department. Karipides has performed all over the country and is renowned for her choreographic work, particularly the body of work created during her ten years as principal dancer and choreographer for the Dance Theatre of Kathryn Karipides and Henry Kurth (1969-1979) She is the recipient of the Carl F. Wittke Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching at CWRU, The Cleveland Arts Prize and the Ohio Dance Award. She is an active member of the Cleveland Dance community.

Want to know more about Kathryn’s career at CWRU - listen to her interview with KSL Creative Director for New Media, Jared Bendis for Case Stories.

Posted by exo2 at 05:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 02, 2011

Papers and Archives from the Former Case Archive of Contemporary Science and Technology

In consideration of the November 3-6 annual meeting of the Society for the History of Technology, co-located with the meetings of the History of Science Society and the Society for the Social Studies of Science in Cleveland, we would like to devote a few lines to a small but significant group of archives and papers in the Special Collections Research Center whose provenance and disposition make them of particular interest to those organizations. The bespoke collections are those of the former Case Archive of Contemporary Science and Technology (Case Archive).

Dr. Robert Schofield (left) receives Forest History Society Approved Repository certificate. ca. March, 1964 for the Case Archive. Upon recent reappraisal the Forest History Materials deposited in the Case Archives in the 1960's have been returned to the Forest History Society for use in their collection building and digitization projects. Photo credit: Rebman Photographers, Cleveland, Ohio. For The Case Institute of Technology. From the files of the Forest History Society.

Established in 1963 through the efforts of Dr. Robert E. Schofield, Professor of History of Science at the then Case Institute of Technology, the Case Archive grew to house over 30 archival collections, a number of rare and important books and serials and more than 25 single manuscript items for the purpose of preserving them for use by scholars of the history of science and technology.

After federation in 1967, the Case Archive existed briefly as an independent unit but was eventually transferred to the newly combined libraries of Case Western Reserve University. In 1972 the Special Collections department [now the Special Collections Research Center] was established and the Case Archive was placed on deposit there.

Most of the original Case Archive can still be found on our shelves, though not as a separate administrative unit. The following collections, from the original archives and papers gathered into the Case Archive of Contemporary Science and Technology between 1963 and 1972 are available for use by researchers upon request. Please contact Special Collections Research Center staff for additional information about these and other Case Archive materials mentioned in this post.

Charles G. Abbot Papers development of gyroscopic apparatus by General Electric Co.

Donald J. Angus Papers development of the Esterline-Angus Co.

Babcock & Wilcox Collection
22photographs of the Renfrew, Scotland plant, 1903

Charles F. Brush, Sr. Papers personal, business and scientific papers of the inventor of the arc lighting system

William D. Buckingham Papers concentrated arc lamp and Western Union

Cleveland Rocket Society Collection
records, 1934-38; history 1963-64

Fred H. Colvin Papers history of the American machine tool industry

Hugh S. Cooper Papers
processes in chemistry, electro-chemistry and metallurgy

Allston Dana Papers design of the third lock of the Panama Canal; bridge building

William Clarence Ebaugh Papers
chemistry education, industrial pollution

S. Colum Gilfillan Papers
invention and patent history and development

Norman P. Goss Papers metallurgy, continuous castings, silicon steel

Clifford M Holland Papers New York City, East River tunnel construction

Mechanical Rubber Company Collection photographs of the Cleveland, Ohio Laboratory, 1930

NASA Collection conference papers, public relations and history material

Charles Baldwin Sawyer Papers Brush industries manufacturing and manufacturing records, Brush and Sawyer personal papers

Warner & Swasey Collection machine tool industry and astronomical observatories

Charles Brush, Sr. standing in front of scientific equipment in basement of Euclid Avenue home. undated. From the Charles F. Brush, Sr. Papers.

Posted by exo2 at 07:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 01, 2011

A Survey of World War I Resources in the Special Collections Research Center

“The centennial of World War I offers an opportunity for people in the United States to learn about the sacrifices of their predecessors.” World War I Memorial and Centennial Act of 2009

As the centennial observation of World War I approaches, The Special Collections Research Center joins Cleveland area Archivists in reviewing their holdings to highlight material documenting this era in history. Some of our collections consist entirely of records related to the Great War, others contain material reflecting wartime service or general interest in the war incorporated in personal papers. Still other material, ephemeral in nature, has come to us as part of the practice of retaining once-circulating library materials in the Special Collections Research Center to prolong their use.

Collections related entirely to World War I include the Benedict Crowell Papers, The Charles G. Abbott Papers and the Thomas Slavin gift of Underwood & Underwood photographs. This last collection, still in process, consists of 50 images taken by commercial photographers Underwood & Underwood for distribution to news-bureaus during World War I.

Interesting World War I era records can be found as part of larger collections. The Charles F. Brush, Sr. Papers include correspondence between Brush and family members in service during the war and touch on subjects close to home such as Liberty Bond drives, the YMCA presence in Camp Sherman, Ohio, and victory celebrations.

The Fred H. Colvin Collection contains records relating to his wartime service as an efficiency expert. A life long student of the machine tool industry, Colvin identified and helped eradicate the waste inherent in U.S. manufacturing plants converted hastily to war time production.


Fred H. Colvin Collection. Photographs. Description in Colvin’s hand: "Taken in Winchester Army Co. New Haven, July, 1917. Men waiting for Army to decide details on Springfield Rifle.”

The Hugh S. Cooper Papers and The Warner and Swasey Collection also contain small but significant amounts of World War I material. Typical of much of the material acquired from the former Case Archive of Contemporary Science and Technology, the creation dates of these collections span the first fifty years of the 20th century. Their creators were either involved in industries that were awarded military contracts or they served in uniform or as military advisers during the war.

The principle source of World War I ephemera deposited in The Special Collections Research Center has been our predecessor institutions – the libraries at Western Reserve University and Case Institute of Technology prior to Federation. One such example can be found in The Kelvin Smith Library Manuscript Collection and consists of a small but arresting set of French Army trench newspapers given to the Library of Western Reserve University by Kate Hanna and Perry Williams Harvey. Consisting of 15 handwritten and typeset pages dating from 1915 to 1917, they were created by French Army soldiers serving in the trenches to circulate news, advice and jokes amongst themselves. There are seven titles represented by single issues; Le Canard Enchaine, Le 120 Court, Le Croissant, Le Diable au Cor, L’Echo des Guitoines, L"Echo des Tranchees, and Le Gafouilleur.

Happily, we have already overseen the use of another group of ephemeral items through the annual Future Connections Program which brings Cleveland area High School Juniors to explore career opportunities in the field of information and library science at the Kelvin Smith Library. The Special Collections Research Center joined other library departments to offer the interns hands-on experience in our workplace. For their work with us, Future Connections interns learned a popular method of providing access to Special Collections materials.

Ephemeral item selected and researched by Future Connections intern Jhane Sims, June, 2011.

The project required interns to select, scan, describe and design a poster exhibit of ephemeral materials related to World War I. Their selections were made entirely from United States Food Administration pamphlets and broadsides published in 1917 and 1918. These publications were widely distributed during the war years to promote food and fuel conservation in the home to help America win the war. During a current processing project we identified this material as having come from the Library of the Case Institute of Technology.

Interns created posters using their own creativity along with skills acquired in workshops, lectures, tours, and hands on training provided by several Kelvin Smith Library departments and area cultural institutions. The posters, accompanied by a brief talk given by each intern, were presented to the staff of the Kelvin Smith Library and invited guests a recognition luncheon on July 7, 2011.

Future Connections interns at the end of their visit to the Dittrick Medical History Center in the Allen Memorial Library, June, 2011.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information about World War I materials in the Special Collections Research Center, or our 2011 Future Connections Internship project.

Posted by exo2 at 01:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 31, 2011

A New Guide to the Kelvin Smith Library Manuscript Collection

The Special Collections Research Center is home to a variety of collections of archives and papers of institutions and individuals with ties to the University’s past. Among these is the Kelvin Smith Library Manuscript Collection, which is an artificial collection of manuscript material accumulated over the years from various sources in the University and deposited in our care. Organized in simple alphabetical order, our recently completed guide to this collection provides an annotated list of materials from which it is possible to draw primary source documents on a wealth of topics.

A fine example of such a resource, described in the guide, is a brief but very interesting correspondence between Gone With The Wind author Margaret Mitchell and Western Reserve University (WRU) Professor Findley Foster in 1946. Mitchell, wearily fighting the endless copyright battles that still beset her ten years after the publication of her Pulitzer Prize winning Civil War epic, took pains to explain to Foster the exact nature of his copyright transgression as seen in the image below. The complete exchange of letters was donated by Foster to the libraries of WRU and is now a part of this unique collection.

TLS, 4pp, 10½"x7¼", Atlanta, 1946 Aug. 8. Addressed to Prof. Finley Foster. Very fine. displayed page one of four. See the complete letter here


Posted by exo2 at 08:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 27, 2011

Highlights from the Hart Crane Collection in the Special Collections Research Cener

This April, in celebration of National Poetry Month, and in observation of his death on April 27, 1932, we highlight recent acquisitions and a new guide to our Hart Crane Collection. Download file

An Ohio native, and sometime Cleveland resident, Crane is best known for his poem, The Bridge. In the early 1980's a group of generous donors established the Hart Crane Collection in the Special Collections Research Center with materials which range from scholarly biographical research to artwork created by his contemporaries. The collection continues to grow as suitable additions become available.

Crane in Warren, Ohio, 1931.

The collection consists of manuscript letters of Hart Crane, his published works, reviews and critiques of his poetry, biographies of his life including the literary manuscript of Voyager: A Life of Hart Crane, by John Unterecker, microfilm of the Hart Crane Papers held by Columbia University, notebooks and watercolors of Crane's friend, Cleveland artist, William Sommer as well as documentation of more current celebration of his poetry.

In her Western Reserve Studies Symposium paper, Hart Crane and His Western Reserve Roots, Crane scholar Vivian Pemberton writes: “As young Hart grew older and as he left his Warren childhood behind, his most important ties to Warren were to remain his aunt, Zell Hart Deming, and his cousin, Helen Douglas Hart (later Mrs. Griswold Hurlbert) who lived right around the corner from him on Elm Street.”

Here we present images from the most recent addition to the Hart Crane Collection: two volumes of his poems acquired from Peter Keisogloff Rare Books in February, 2008. The first is a presentation copy of a first edition of White Buildings(1926), the second a review copy of The Bridge(1930). Each is a valued addition to our store of knowledge regarding the poet's family, for they are associated with his cousin Helen and aunt Zell.

In fine physical condition, our new copy of White Buildings is one of 500 copies, with original quarter blue cloth, boards covered with black-and-beige textured paper but lacking its dust jacket.

Unique to this book is this inscription from Crane to his cousin, Helen Hart Hurlbert and her husband Griswold (Gooz). Crane penned the following: “For Helen and Gooz’ whose home is a poem without words, from cousin Hart“.

Pasted to the front end paper was an envelope containing this needlepoint Christmas post card from Crane inscribed “Dear Helen and Griswald. Shall be out here in the country writing for a year. Otto H. Kahn has given me the funds for a year’s creative work and I’m quite happy about it. Sorry I didn’t see you when you were in New York. With all greetings. Hart.”

Crane wrote these lines at the close of 1925 and the beginning of his stay in the remote town of Patterson, New York. It was his hope that the gift from Kahn would enable him to work, undisturbed, at completing the poems that would comprise White Buildings and make headway on his epic poem The Bridge. By May 1, 1926, however, the nomadic Crane had left Patterson behind and was on his way to Isle of Pines, Cuba where he would at least accomplish his first objective; White Buildings was published that fall.

Also tucked in this volume was the photograph of Crane seen above. Is is one of a series of photos of Crane taken at his cousin Helen's home in Warren in 1931, shortly after his father’s death.

It would take Crane another four years and several changes of address before his book-length poem,The Bridge, would be published in 1930. Our new copy of that work belonged to his aunt and godmother Zell P. Hart. It is a near fine, first edition review copy with the her bookplate and tooled leather cover.

Crane’s aunt Zell, (later Zell Hart Deming), was owner and publisher of the Warren, Ohio Tribune. She was the first woman admitted into the Associated Press and a respected voice in the newspaper industry in the first half of the 20th century. Whether she obtained her review copy based on her status as a publisher or if it was a gift from her nephew and godson, Zell Hart was conscientious in retaining the following review slip on the front pastedown: “Reviews of this book are not to be released before April 15, 1930. The appearance of reviews before the original publication of a book is a source of annoyance to the book buyer who wishes to purchase the book and cannot; to the bookseller who is embarrassed when he cannot supply his customers’ demand; And to the publisher who is naturally blamed when reviews appear prematurely. Therefore we urge you please to observe review release date”

Inquiries regarding The Hart Crane Collection may be directed to The Special Collections Research Center in the Kelvin Smith Library

Posted by exo2 at 04:56 PM | TrackBack

March 28, 2011

Cookery Books in The Special Collections Research Center

As Women’s History month draws to a close we present some notes and selected title page images from an earlier study of the cookery books on our shelves. The Kelvin Smith Library's Special Collections Research Center has a collection of books in the subject area of Domestic Science with an emphasis on cookery books. One of the oldest books in the collection related to culinary activities is an elaborate treatise on the art of carving meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit published in Italy in 1581. Another early work, written by Frau Weckerin and published in Denmark in 1648, was so popular as to be translated into several languages in a time when books written by and for women did not commonly achieve international best seller status.

Other titles include French, English and American publications from the eighteenth to the twentieth century which provide instruction and advice on a wide variety of topics: distilling liqueurs and brewing beer, intricate instructions for elegant dishes for the nobility, shopping at the market, waiting on company, medical treatments, decoration of houses and management of children. Sources of this wealth of information include familiar names such as Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe, Jean Anthelme Brillat- Savarin and corporate entities such as William Baker and Company. A common theme throughout these titles is that the work of women should be valued, honored, and studied, and that pursuit of culinary skills and practical management of resources available to women would be always to their benefit.

Posted by exo2 at 03:08 AM | TrackBack

January 31, 2011

Papyrology and Ancient Egyptian Culture

It might not be readily apparent to the casual viewer but the image posted below is part of a receipt for services rendered. The English translation tells us that "Paid by Apollos worker in lead to [Georgios?] for repairing the copper utensils of the property of Meskanounis, eight pounds of lead and four pounds of tin. Total 8 pounds of lead and 4 pounds of tin only."

This receipt and other fragments of papyrus were among a large cache of early Greek and Latin handwritten material excavated at the site of ancient Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus between 1896 and 1906 by Bernard Grenfell and Arthur Hunt for the Egypt Exploration Fund (today the Egypt Exploration Society). Oxyrhynchus papyri fragments were given as study aides to many colleges and universities around 1906, including Western Reserve University, as part of the wide distribution of papyri by the Egypt Exploration Fund. Our papyri can be studied at length on our web page which includes images and descriptions of each item.

While we are not aware of any new studies linking our papyri to the growing body of contextual information regarding the Oxyrhynchus papyri, it is interesting to note the research of AnneMarie Luijendijk, Assistant Professor of Religion at Princeton University who reveals in a recent article, that her work with Oxyrhynchus papyri at Princeton confirms “… the first and only ancient instance where we know the owner of a Greek New Testament papyrus.”

Oxyrhynchus 1003:Part of a Receipt


Posted by exo2 at 08:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 30, 2010

Intellectual Gifts from Our Faculty in Physical Form: The Library of Benjamin Parsons Bourland (1870-1943)

A January, 1943 editorial noting the death of Benjamin Parsons Bourland, Adelbert College Professor Emeritus of Romance Languages, contained the following passage: “In the finest sense, Dr. Bourland was an outstanding scholar, blending knowledge of the Old World and the new, a paragon of accuracy who won a lasting place in his field. But behind the student was the man, the ever young, zestful lover of the finer attributes of life. …his keen interest in the affairs of the world belied the traditional picture of the cloistered seeker after knowledge.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer, January 14, 1943; p.4)

Bourland began his thirty-nine year career at Western Reserve University in 1901 as Associate Professor and was made a full Professor in 1905. His devotion to scholarship was reflected in his personal library which, as part of his estate, was sold or donated in parts, to the Adelbert College Library.

Today, items from Bourland’s library enrich the holdings of several subject areas of the Kelvin Smith Library and its Special Collections Research Center. As Professor of Romance Languages Bourland acquired books that ranged from contemporary lexicons in his field, to histories of the many cultures brought to life in his classroom, to his own studies of El Cid. His copy of The historie of the vniting of the kingdom of Portugall to the crowne of Castill, printed in 1600 and now housed in the Special Collections Research Center, might have occupied a place on his bookshelf next to his trade copy of Grammatica Italiana, now part of the KSL circulating collection.

Title page: The historie of the vniting of the kingdom of Portugall to the crowne of Castill. 1600
Gift from the library of Benjamin Parsons Bourland, in his memory, 1943

Bourland’s love of the “finer attributes of life” took many forms, not the least of which was as a wine enthusiast. His own books on wine as well as those he gave as gifts to fellow Cleveland connoisseurs, are a notable part of our Frank Hadley Ginn Wine Collection.

Such associations among and between the volumes in Bourland’s library are united under the umbrella of his bibliophilia – Bourland was deeply devoted to Cleveland’s Rowfant Club. He served as Secretary of the club for several years, overseeing the weekly meetings in season, coordinating membership obligations and the timely distribution of the many notices sent to his fellow club men. We are fortunate that among the material donated to the university by his widow was a collection of Rowfant Club notices, now The Benjamin Parsons Bourland Rowfantia Collection, spanning the years 1909-1936. Examination of these notices opens a window to the literary life of many of Cleveland’s most prominent cultural philanthropists and gives us greater understanding of the influence Bourland had on the life of the mind in his community.

Posted by exo2 at 04:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 13, 2010

Our High Ranking Medical School Has Strong Roots

The Special Collections Research Center at the Kelvin Smith Library joins the celebration of the "America's Best Graduate Schools" ranking bestowed on The CWRU School of Medicine with a look at one of its founding fathers. The Jared Potter Kirtland Collection in the Special Collections Research Center includes lecture notes from his career as a professor of medicine and notebooks created in his lifelong study of the natural sciences.

Dr. Jared Potter Kirtland was born in 1793 in Wallingford, Connecticut. He spent his youth learning horticulture and botany before expanding his interest into the field of medicine. In 1813, he entered the first class of the medical department of Yale College, while also receiving private lessons in botany, geology, mineralogy, and zoology. He received his medical degree from Yale in 1815, and his highly diverse professional life began.

Kirtland had a long and successful career practicing medicine in Connecticut, and later, Ohio. It was in Ohio that he began to teach as well; first at Cincinnati’s Medical College of Ohio, then at Willoughby Medical College. In 1844, he, along with Drs. John Delamater, Horace Ackley, and John Cassals, founded the Medical Department of Western Reserve University, also known as the Cleveland Medical College. He remained at the Medical College as a professor of Theory and Practice of Medicine until his retirement in 1864. Today, the medical school he helped found, The Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, is ranked 20th out of 146 in the U.S. News & World Report national survey and maintains the highest ranking among Ohio medical schools.

Jared Potter Kirtland’s life encompassed much more than teaching medicine. Throughout his life, he shared his love of natural history and science. In 1845, he founded the Cleveland Academy of Science, which became the Kirtland Society of Natural History in 1865, forerunner of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. On his farm in East Rockport, Ohio (now Lakewood) Kirtland developed a wide array of agricultural advances which he shared generously with his neighbors and the world. He died there in 1877 leaving behind a legacy of dedication to enhancing our knowledge of mankind and the world we live in.

To learn more about the Kirtland materials in the Special Collections Research Center please enjoy our Guide to the Jared Potter Kirtland Collection Download file

Image from Box 1, folder 2 The Jared Potter Kirtland Collection. Illustrations of fish, pencil drawing with water color wash in Kirtland’s hand, ca.1839 with caption “H__ nigricans. From the Naturalists’ Library”


Posted by exo2 at 03:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 06, 2010

Recent Aquisitions

The Special Collections Research Center has recently acquired a facsimile of the work by Leonardo da Vinci named the Leicester-Hammer Codex. The manuscript had been purchased in 1717 by Thomas Coke, who later gained the title Lord Leicester. In 1980 Armand Hammer acquired it from the Leicester estate. Bill Gates purchased it for $30,000,000 from the Hammer estate auction in 1994 and gave it back the name of Codex Leicester.

Our facsimile was produced by TREC International of Rome, Italy. It is a beautiful reproduction printed on “Acquarello” paper made by the Fedrigoni paper mill and hand-bound in gold-embossed choice leather by “L’Arte del Libro” and comes with a special case. This volume contains Leonardo’s observations and sketches about science, water and hydraulics.

The codex is currently on exhibit to the public in a new display case which can be found on the second floor of the Kelvin Smith Library in the casual seating area near the elevators.

Posted by exo2 at 07:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 12, 2009

Revisiting the Gift of Anne and Robert Levine

Twenty years ago, the Special Collections Research Center was presented with a gift of interesting and unusual items from the estate of Anne and Robert Levine, founders of Cleveland's legendary Publix Book Mart. Among the assorted volumes is a collection of american commonplace books, friendship albums and diaries from the mid 19th century. Aided by a growing number of resources available online, we recently began researching and describing these materials in greater detail than has been practicable.

Of note are three items written by William Edward Coale, M.D.,(1816-1865), Professor of Anatomy and Physiology at the University of Maryland and U.S. Navy Surgeon. Adding depth and breadth to our research were the following advertisement for one of his publications, found in a literary journal of the day, and, The Transactions of the American Medical Association's obituary printed in 1886.

The Coale manuscripts consist of:

• A Friendship album inscribed on flyleaf October, 1833 and William Edward Coale stamped in ink on the first page. 10 x 16.5 cm. 1833-1858. MS 1 bound volume with inscriptions and verse written by friends and relatives of the owner. Stamped on spine: Stam-Buck. Also with letters, plant leaves and some ephemeral items tipped in.

• A Common Place Book of Poetry Commenced September 12, 1833 by William Edward Coale inscribed on p. 3. 19.5 x 23 cm. 1833-1858. MS 1 bound volume with inscriptions and verse written by friends and relatives of the owner. Stamped on spine: Poetry and Belles Lettres. Also with some loose manuscript pages.

• A Private Journal of a Cruize(sic) around the World during the years 1838, 1839, 1840. 28 x 22 cm. entries for 1838. MS 1 bound volume describing the voyage of the U.S.S. Columbia from the Gosport Navy Yard to the Indian Ocean with accounts of time spent on shore in South America and Africa. Stamped on spine: Index Herum.

We will post more information and images as these charming pieces of Americana are studied in greater detail.

Posted by exo2 at 08:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack