Posts Tagged ‘Special Collections & Archives’

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.

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.

Beachcombing in the Archive

Even though the official start of summer isn’t till Sunday, the creeping thermometer mercury is already making getting to the beach a priority for many. Being able to cool down in some water and relax is enjoyable… Yet, experiencing the details of the seashore can often bring delight.

The scurrying of hermit crabs, witnessing dolphin acrobatics out from shore, building sand castles, or beachcombing for seashells, driftwood and sea glass enchant the beach goer turned weekend naturalist.

In this spirit and appreciation for the flora and fauna of the seashore, today I offer you some illustrations of shell fossils.

These are from the Report on the Agriculture and Geology of Mississippi By, B.LC. Wailes. Wailes was the Geologist of Mississippi when this was published in 1854.

These lithographs document the shell fossil deposits found a good 160 miles from the Gulf Shore.

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Many of these fossils where found in strata revealed during the construction of railroads or the quarrying of stone for building in the area.

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With sharks teeth being found in the strata of a quarry eight miles south of Jackson and large sea mollusks in a creek bed emptying into the Pearl River.

You can also beat the heat by visiting our Special Collections & Archives Booth-Bricker Reading Room to view this book and comb through other interesting volumes on the Gulf Coast region Monday – Thursday, 9:00 – 4:30 and Friday, 9:00 – 12:00.

Here is musical lagniappe from the Beach Boys. Enjoy!

TGIF: 1967 Style

Back in ’67 Loyola celebrated Fridays in a big way. Students closed out the week with dancing, drinking and general good times in what appears to be the St. Charles Room. Here’s to the TGIF dance party!

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