Posts Tagged ‘Special Collections’

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.

New Orleans Opera Association Archives

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“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.

Recent Acquisitions: Fine Press & Artists’ Books

Special Collections & Archives proudly presents Recent Acquisitions: Fine Press & Artists’ Books!

Curated to highlight several exciting new additions to our book collection, Recent Acquisitions: Fine Press & Artists’ Books features the work of five contemporary artisans who uniquely reimagine text, illustration, and “book” form to create engaging works of art.

The exhibition is on view in the Booth-Bricker Special Collections & Archives Reading Room through July 31, 2015.

As always, all are welcome to join us in Special Collections & Archives Monday-Thursday, 9:00-4:30 and Friday, 9:00-12:00.

Special Collections & Archives Projects Assistant, Rachel, installing the exhibition.

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.

“The dislocation of man in the modern age”

He was a novelist, a philosopher, a scholar, a professor, and a legend.

Walker Percy, born in 1916 in Alabama, didn’t begin his life as any of these things.  In fact, in 1937, he graduated from the University of North Carolina with a B.A. in Chemistry and went on to graduate from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in 1941.

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Twenty years later and his still-lasting legacy was born with the publication of his first novel, The Moviegoer, which won the National Book Award for Fiction.

He moved to Covington, Louisiana with his wife and went on to write a handful of books, fiction and nonfiction, ranging from topics of philosophy to semiotics to religion to science to life in the South.

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However, “the dislocation of man in the modern age” was what Percy called the overarching theme of his works.

While balancing his fight with tuberculosis, and eventually cancer, with his career as a published author, Percy taught and mentored young writers here at Loyola.

During his time here, he was one of the key members in getting John Kennedy Toole’s novel A Confederacy of Dunces published in 1980, more than a decade after Toole’s death. The novel went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

After the passing of both he (1990) and his wife, Mary (2012), a special collection was started in Monroe Library’s Archives dedicated to the life and works of Walker Percy.

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Including everything from handwritten notes and speeches to collected articles he authored to correspondents with other noteworthy authors to the checks he and his wife wrote on a daily basis, the entirety of the compilation spans across five different collections donated to Archives by both loved ones and collectors.

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Novelist Francine du Plessix Gray called Walker Percy, “our greatest Catholic novelist since Flannery O’Connor.” Many since agree.

If you’d live to find out for yourself and check out any of the Walker Percy collection, 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.

Now Available: The Stephen Dankner Collection of Musical Works and Papers

From Stephen Dankner's Cello Sonata Movement I (1968)Former Loyola College of Music professor Stephen Dankner donated a collection of his music scores and other papers to Loyola after moving to Massachusetts in 2006. The husband of former Loyola music librarian Laura Dankner, Stephen is a prolific composer and educator who has won awards and commissions from around the world. The majority of the items in this collection are original holograph scores and parts by Dankner as well as sketches (rough-draft pencil outlines for pieces, usually incomplete), printed scores, and research notes. In addition to scores, the collection includes correspondence to and from copyright agencies, friends, performers, publishing companies, record labels, recording studios, and teachers; and concert programs, newspaper and electronic reviews, press releases, and photos. A large portion of the collection is dedicated to the creation and premiere by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra of Symphony No. 5: Odyssey of Faith (2001)—a performance which featured the Loyola University Chorale and soprano and baritone soloists Ellen and Philip Frohnmayer, both College of Music and Fine Arts voice faculty. The items in the collection give a rare insight into the compositional process as well as the business of being a composer.

The finding aid for the collection can be viewed here.

The Stephen Dankner Collection of Musical Works and Papers is open for research use in the Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives. Special Collections (Room 333, Monroe Library ) is open Monday – Friday from  8:30am to 4:45pm.

For more on Stephen Dankner, search the Monroe Library catalog.