Archive for the ‘Found in Archives’ Category

The Art of Fore-edge Painting

Today, our exploration of Special Collections & Archives uncovers seldom-seen examples of disappearing fore-edge paintings!

Fore-edge painting, simply put, is the technique of applying paint to the edges of the pages of a book. Two types of fore-edge paintings survive, including those applied to closed fore-edges (visible) and adversely, applied to fanned fore-edges (disappearing).

Above: The Pilgrim’s Progress: In Two Parts

While visible fore-edge painting dates back (possibly) as far as the 10th century with the earliest signed and dated example citing 1653, the techniques employed to create mysterious, disappearing fore-edge paintings developed slightly later and reached peak popularity during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Above: The Poetical Works of John Greenleaf Whittier

In order to produce a disappearing fore-edge painting, a skilled artisan renders the desired scene on the fanned pages of a manuscript using watercolor pigment. After the paint has thoroughly dried, the book is closed and subsequently, gold is applied to the fore-edges. The watercolor painting is thus rendered “invisible” by gilding and only becomes visible when the text’s pages are fanned.

Above: The Poetical Works of John Milton

These and several other fore-edge painted books gems are available for viewing in Special Collections & Archives Monday-Thursday, 9:00-4:30 and Friday, 9:00-12:00! You can also learn more about the history and production techniques of fore-edge painting by perusing books like this one.

Found in the Archives is a recurring series of crazy cool stuff found in the Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives.

Help Yourself with the Last Self-Help Book

#howtotuesday: Help Yourself with the Last Self-Help Book

Why can you size up Saturn, or a stranger, in 10 seconds—but not yourself, whom you have known all your life?

Why is the Self the only object in the Cosmos which gets bored?

Why is it that the Self—though it professes to be loving, caring, to prefer peace to war, concord to discord, life to death; to wish other selves well, not ill—in fact secretly relishes wars and rumors of war, news of murders, obituaries, to say nothing of local news about acquaintances dropping dead in the street, gossip about neighbors getting in fights or being detected in sexual scandals, embezzlements, and other disgraces?

These are but a tiny sample of the questions posed by Walker Percy in Lost in the Cosmos: The Last-Self Help Book.

Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book is a tongue-in-cheek, mock self-help text containing essays, multiple-choice quizzes, and “thought experiments” authored by past Loyola University New Orleans mentor and professor Walker Percy. The book, Percy’s most popular work of non-fiction, is formatted to satirize standard self-help books while encouraging readers to seriously contemplate their Self and existential situation. Percy embarks upon an array of topics—religion, science, movie trivia, fear, exhilaration, sex, boredom—and discusses both contemporary events and popular figures (e.g. Jonny Carson, Mother Teresa, and Carl Sagan).

Loyola University Special Collections & Archives holds nine copies of Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book—five copies feature the signature (and in a single case, a rather lengthy inscription) of Walker Percy with one additional copy being inscribed by the book’s editor, Robert Giroux.

Are you interested in taking “A Preliminary Short Quiz so that you may determine whether you need to take the Twenty-Question Self-Help Quiz” or courageously embarking upon Percy’s “Twenty-Question Multiple-Choice Self-Help Quiz to test your knowledge of the peculiar status of the self, your self, and other selves, in the Cosmos, and your knowledge of what to do with your self in these, the last years of the twentieth century?” If so, visit Special Collections & Archives Monday-Thursday, 9:00-4:30 or Friday 9:00-12:00!

For further study of Walker Percy, Loyola University Special Collections & Archives holds a significant amount of material relating to the author including the Walker Percy Papers, Percy-Walsh Correspondence, Percy-Romagosa Collection, Percy-Suhor Letters, and Patrick Samway, S.J Papers.

More Summer Fun

"Children's Art Classes - Cynthia Clark - teacher 1973 (summer)"

Students in Jackson Square, New Orleans

Golf

From "Loyola Men of the South."

To check out more images like these, visit the Loyola University Photographs Collection online or come to the Booth-Bricker Special Collections &Archives Reading Room on the third floor of Monroe Library.

Found in the Archives is a recurring series of crazy cool stuff found in the Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives.

Medieval Silk

Housed up here in Special Collections & Archives are more than just books. With everything from photos to films to memorabilia to newspapers, there’s just as an expansive array of materials as there are subjects.

One such material can be found in Collection 62, a single box containing a moment in history shrouded in a dead language: three silk banners written in Medieval Latin produced in the 18th century to advertise various debates on matters of law.

1743 Banner Even to someone whose studied the language, it can be difficult to comprehend what “matters of law” could even be. The religious overtones are hard to miss, but the “conclusio” are a bit tricky. Academically, Classical Latin is what is taught to students wanting to pick up, say, The Aeneid, and read the original text. However, Medieval Latin is a very different matter. As stated by the name, it is the Latin taught and used during the medieval era for religious purposes, mostly for scripture transcribed by Catholic priests. Because it was not a commonly spoken language, nor anyone’s first language, the grammar of Medieval Latin, as opposed to Classical, tends to suffer.  That makes translators today a bit skeptical of any possible translations. 1727 banner

One possible translation for the text written in the bold at the top, as a sort of forward to following “conclusio”, is this (just to give you a sense of what’s going on):

“Beautiful as the moon
Noble as the sun
Mirror of sanctity
Miracle of virtues
Daughter of the Father,
Mother of divine words
Bride of the Holy Spirit
And finally virgin
Conceived without any of the original sin from the fall.
PROGRAMA
Conception of the Sacred Virgin Mary.
ANAGRAMA
Singular, amazing, and without original sin”

Following this is the “epigrama”, a tale of a virgin conception of a child without original sin.

And then following this are the “conclusio”.  One can only assume that what this is referring to are the conclusions one can draw from said tale and what legal grounds they hold as such. In retrospect, such arguments used during a debate of law during the medieval era was common; there was no separation of church and state.

The first conclusion, “prima conclusio”, translates roughly to:

“Just as with life, apprehensive ownerships are acquired of properties, therefore opposed favor, and objection made shall oblige to the Defendant”

The next five conclusions follow the same pattern and tone.

This just being the first of three banners, all are similar in subject and language. For someone studying law debates of the medival era, these could certainly prove useful and an interesting read.

1747 banner

To check out these banners, all of the materials are available for viewing in Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives Monday-Thursday, 9:00-4:30.

Found in the Archives is a recurring series of crazy cool stuff found in the Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives.

This post was compiled by student worker Mary Graci.

Two Words: Oriental Stucco

Today we look at one of our more unique titles from the stacks Oriental Stucco.

This book was published in 1924 by the United States Gypsum Company for use by architects as well as to market a new kind of stucco called… wait for it… Oriental Stucco!

This stucco was made with a “list of ingredients” including concrete and most likely gypsum (given the name of the company) and other materials “perfected by modern scientific knowledge” that we are not privy too, but one thing that stands out as told in the Forward is the inclusion of plastic.

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So what is so interesting about a book advertising different types of stucco?

The sample cards…
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Not only does the manufacturer give you the history and quality of the various stuccos documented in the book, they also give you textured and colored examples of what the product could achieve aesthetically. Pretty handy when trying to decide the kind of wall treatment you want for a structure and still informative today as an example of trade advertising from the 1920’s.

Now to peruse a few of the stucco types presented in the book…

We have Greek stucco…
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California Mission…
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The California Mission stucco sample has the roughest texture which seeks to evoke a style that resulted from the tools being wielded by “unskilled” hands and the use of  “course and rough” materials.

Here is a close-up… Look at all that texture!
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The most vivid color sample is the Early Italian… (though all of the stuccos where “made in white, and nine colors”)
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If you would like to come browse this relic of product advertising from the roaring 20′s feel free to visit the Special Collections & Archives in Monroe Library Monday-Thursday, 9:00-4:30 or Friday, 9:00-12:00.

In the meantime here is a link to a more concise version that was published in 1925 that has been digitized over at the INTERNET ARCHIVE and included in their Building Technology Heritage Library.

Before there was Street-View

Being a fan of travelling to new destinations but not being able to do so as often as I would like, I love being able to look at pictures of the places I wish to go.  Seeing places in a photograph allows you to imagine yourself seeing it in person for the first time, but with modern technology you can be right in front of that famous monument with just a click of a button thanks to developments such as Google’s Street-View option in their maps.

Although, in 1893 before the time of the internet, and back when travelling across the world was not as easily accessible, people relied on picture books such as Thomas Knox’s “Scenes from Every Land” to see the famous places they wished to travel. And those people who could not see these sites with their own eyes were exactly who this book was directed towards, as General Lee Wallace addresses in the introduction, “ To the few who have traveled; to the many who would like to go abroad, , but are restrained by timidity; to the lacking in funds; to the sick and convalescent who promise themselves sight of the world when health will permit; more especially, to the multitude of unfortunates, who, on account of incurable ailments of whatever kinds, can never hope to escape the narrow confines in which their lots are cast, I venture to address this introduction.”
Scenes From Every Land

This particular book holds over 500 pictures from around the world, from Syria to New Zealand and famous buildings to museum galleries, this book shows it all. But one thing that is interesting to wonder when flipping through the pages of this book is how many of these famous sites have changed since the late 1800s, and thanks to Google Street-View we are able to see just how different, if at all, things are. Just click the links below each picture to see how they are today.

Westminster Abbey, London

Westminster Abbey, London

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower, Paris

The Vatican, Rome

The Vatican, Rome

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The Colosseum, Rome

Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Campanile, or Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

Court of Lions in the Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Court of Lions in the Alhambra , Granada, Spain

St. Basil

St. Basil, the Beatified, Moscow

Great Pyramid and Sphinx, Egypt

Great Pyramid and Sphinx, Egypt

Cleopatra's Needle, Alexandria, Egypt

Cleopatra’s Needle, New York

(The obelisk was originally in Alexandria, Egypt when this photo was taken but was later moved to Central Park in New York City in 1881)

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Washington Monument, Washington D.C.

New Orleans Opera Association Archives

nooa_00001001

“The date of the very first staging of opera in the New Orleans cannot be firmly established and seems forever lost to music historians, but it can safely be stated that since 1796, in the final decade of the Spanish colonial era, New Orleans has had operatic performances on almost a yearly basis. With few exceptions throughout the nineteenth century, each year the city hosted a resident company which was engaged for its principal theatre and which could be depended upon for performances throughout an established operatic season…

Welcome though these sporadic appearances were, what the city needed was a return to a permanent company, with a fixed operatic season. Determined to meet this challenge, in February 1943 a group of music lovers, led by Walter L. Loubat (1885-1945), drew up a charter creating the New Orleans Opera House Association. An inaugural summer season of open air performances, billed as “Opera under the Stars”, in City Park stadium was planned. The inaugural bill of Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci (June 11/12, 1943) was followed by three other works.  Amelio Colantoni served as artistic director; former Metropolitan Opera conductor Louis Hasselmans was recruited from nearby Louisiana State University’s faculty; and Lelia Haller, a New Orleanian who had danced with the Paris Opéra ballet, began the training of a resident corps de ballet.   The initial season scored a success, but the ever present threat of evening showers in semi tropical New Orleans prompted a move indoors to the Municipal Auditorium that autumn.  The concert hall of the Auditorium remained home for the Opera Association until the inauguration of the Theatre of Performing Arts in 1973.”

Jack Belsom, “A History of Opera in New Orleans.”

Here at Monroe Library’s Special Collections and Archives, we house a huge collection of programs, donated by the New Orleans Opera Association, dating back to that first performance “under the stars” in 1943. I have been lucky enough to have been allotted the task of digitizing this collection. Flipping through the beautifully vintage pages of these programs, one can recognize Loyola Alums credited as both chorus members and singing roles. Sarah Jane McMahon (’02), Norman Treigle (51’) and Bryan Hymel (’01) are just a few of the many recognizable names you can find. You can even find the names of superstars like Walter Cassel, Robert Weede, Eugene Conley, Lawrence Tibbett, Gabor Carelli and many more. Each program includes bios about the composers, conductors and singers involved in each performance, as well as a synopsis of the opera(s) being performed, and provides a neat insight to the life of those musicians. They also include some very hip ads from the time: a piano company that was based in New Orleans, local restaurants and eateries, clothing and jewelry stores, home radios, cars, theatres, etc…

Once the collection is digitized it will be made available and accessible through the SCA webpage. In the meantime, if you desire to hold one of these pieces of operatic history in your own hands, the same pieces of paper that were held by the hands of who-knows-who (perhaps a few of today’s New Orleans-hailing opera stars from their student days), then come by the Booth-Bricker Special Collections and Archives Reading Room on the third floor of Monroe Library to consult with one of our archivists. We will be happy to help!

This post was compiled by student worker Dylan J. Tran.

Found in the Archives is a recurring series of crazy cool stuff found in the Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives.

#howtotuesday: Prevent Yellow Fever

#howtotuesday: Prevent Yellow Fever

Above: sanitary map of the city of New Orleans

Yellow Fever, sometimes called Yellow Jack or Yellow Plague, is a viral disease transmitted to humans by the bite of female mosquitoes of the Aedes aegypti species. Most cases of Yellow Fever cause mild symptoms including fever, headache, and chills; however, approximately 15% of cases develop into toxic, severe stages of recurring fever, jaundice (yellowing of the skin) due to liver damage, abdominal pain, vomiting, and internal bleeding.

The city of New Orleans was plagued by several epidemics of Yellow Fever during the 19th century, the most deadly in 1853. Sadly, in a single year, 7,849 residents of New Orleans (population: 154,000) succumbed to the illness.

The Yellow Fever epidemic of 1853 led to further study of the viral disease and publication of The Cause and Prevention of Yellow Fever at New Orleans and Other Cities in America, a text investigating “the origin and mode of transmission of the great epidemic of last year, together with all causes affecting the salubrity of the city.”

The publication includes eight foldouts, each employing a map or chart to illustrate data.

Above: chart exhibiting the annual mortality of New Orleans

Local researchers conducted many experiments in an attempt to control the epidemic, including but not limited to, purifying the air by burning tar and firing canons throughout the city (a method only employed once). After identifying mosquitoes as the transmitters of Yellow Fever, efforts were launched to control the breeding of insects, particularly through extensive sanitation–an endeavor largely responsible for ending the crisis.

Interested in learning more about the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1853? Visit us in Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives Monday-Thursday, 9:00-4:30 or Friday, 9:00-12:00 where The Cause and Prevention of Yellow Fever at New Orleans and Other Cities in America and additional texts (like this one) are available for viewing!

I hope each of you have a wonderful holiday weekend (and don’t forget to wear a bit of bug spray)!

Found in the Archives is a recurring series of crazy cool stuff found in the Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives.

Happy birthday, Prufrock

T. S. Eliot’s seminal poem “The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock” was published 100 years ago this month. “Prufrock” made its first appearance in the June 1915 issue of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse. That original publication can be viewed online at Brown University’s Modernist Journals Project. The poem was later published in 1917′s Prufrock and Other Observations and has since been included in most collections of Eliot’s work.

Prufrock

Special Collections has a number of works by Eliot in the Robert Giroux Collection of 20th century American writers. Pictured above is the first page of the poem in Poems 1909-1925.

This particular copy, like many other works in this collection, was signed by Giroux.

Giroux_signature

To see this, and other works by and about T.S. Eliot, visit the Booth-Bricker Special Collections & Archives Reading Room Monday-Thursday, 9:00-4:30 and Friday, 9:00-12:00.

SCA Shelves

Found in the Archives is a recurring series of crazy cool stuff found in the Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives.

Fine Press & Artists’ Books

So, what exactly are Fine Press & Artists’ books?

Artists’ books harmoniously combine content (both the written word and visual imagery), design, and form to share a message. Artists’ books can employ a wide range of forms, including, but not limited to, scrolls, foldouts, accordion style pleating, or loose items contained in a box.

Simply stated, Artists’ books are not books about art—they are art expressed in book form.

A Spring Garden

Similarly, Fine Press books, often valuable and intrinsically beautiful, harken back to centuries preceding the advent of mass production. They are composed of artist-selected content and are created on a small scale, with a limited number of copies.

A Sound Beyond – Un suono al di là

Both Fine Press & Artists’ books are generally printed on high-quality paper using equipment controllable by a single individual, usually a hand operated press.

Interested in learning more? Visit the Booth-Bricker Special Collections & Archives Reading Room over the next seven weeks to view this summer’s Special Collections & Archives exhibition, Recent Acquisitions: Fine Press  & Artists’ Books!

Found in the Archives is a recurring series of crazy cool stuff found in the Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives.