Joel Larus Book Fund Established at Columbia University

This year, South Asia collection development at Columbia University was enriched by a new charitable book fund, for acquiring materials related to India’s foreign policy following independence, including issues of national security and maritime affairs. The Joel Larus Book Fund is being distributed from the Community Fund of Sarasota County on an annual basis. Joel Larus is a political science specialist with South Asia expertise, and a Columbia University alumnus (Ph.D., 1960).  We are grateful to Joel Larus for his contributions to the Columbia University library collections.

Book dances its way back to the Libraries after being checked out decades ago

A few months ago I received the following email: I recently came across a book from the Columbia Library, Coreografía Gauchesca by Jorge M.Furt, which was due back January 11, 1934.  I suspect it was taken out by my uncle who was on the faculty at about that time, probably for consultation by his wife (my aunt), whose career included performance of music and dances from Latin America.  Would the library still like to have it returned?  The date of publication is 1927.

My immediate response: Of course we would like to have it back!  The image below is from the book and sketches Argentinian folk dance notations:

After it arrived the book was cataloged and sent to our Offsite facility, which provides an excellent environment for the preservation of library materials. As an item in the collection that was circulating in the 1930s (and is currently held by only a few libraries) it brought to mind Columbia University Libraries’ longstanding commitment to collecting in Latin American and Iberian Studies.  The book was probably not part of any curriculum on campus at the time but clearly served an artistic research purpose as noted in the email above. The Instituto de las Españas (presently the Hispanic Institute) was founded in 1920 and its organizational plan called for a circulating library of books representing the literature, life and customs, art, architecture, history and government of Spanish speaking countries (Onís 58).  The Columbia University Libraries continue to fulfill that role.

If you would like to consult this book for your own performances of Coreografía Gauchesca you can do so by requesting the book from our Offsite facility.

  • Onís, Federico de.  Memoria del curso 1920-1921 presentada al Consejo General Ejecutivo. Madrid: Imprenta Maroto, 1921

Baltic and East European Modernist Collections

Since 2009 my colleagues and I have taken special pains to bolster Columbia’s holdings of rare (and in some cases unique) titles in Baltic & East European modernist materials from the dynamic interwar decades, as well as avant-garde (Surrealist, Expressionist, Dadaist, etc.) literature.  We have secured a number of notable acquisitions—more than 150, by my

reckoning, held by either Avery Classics or RBML―that have cemented our position as the premier “destination” collection of such materials in North America.  Scholars are now examining the original and inflected contributions of indigenous intellectuals and artists in the context of broader European literary, artistic, architectural and political movements.  The addition of Polish, Latvian, Estonian, Croatian, Serbian, Hungarian, and Romanian interwar imprints over the past half-decade has established Columbia as an important repository for such materials.

This past fall, thanks to support from Columbia’s Primary Resources Fund, we were able to acquire a group of four exceptionally rare Estonian Modernist publications and two serials from the interwar period:

  • Pedro Krusten, author of Südame rahu. Romaan [Peace of Mind. A Novel] (Tartu, 1928) would achieve fame in his postwar fiction in exile, winning the Visnapuu Award for Literature in 1958. The cover design is by Jaan Vahtra;
  • Julius Öngo’s Ööpäev [Day and night] (Haapsalu (Tallinn), 1921) was issued in an edition of less than 150 copies, with a woodcut cover and five full-page woodcuts by artist Aleksander Bergmann (pseud. of Aleksander Vardi 1901-1983).
  • Hugo Raudsepp was a prolific playwright, journalist and critic who perished in a Siberian labor camp. His Pörunud aru õnnistus [Understand the blessing] Tartu, 1931), has a cover design by Peet Aren.
  • Rudolf Reimann’s Päikseratas. Poeem [Wheel of the sun. Poems] (Võrun, 1922) contains woodcuts by Vahtra.

  • Dünamis. Mõtteid võitlevast vabariigist. [Cultural notes. Thoughts about the struggle for the Republic] (Tartu, 1928) was the first and last issue of a journal launched to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Estonian Republic. It provoked such a strong reaction that it was shut down by the authorities and confiscated with only a few hundred copies actually released. Cover design by Vahtra.
  • Kirjanduslik kuukiri. [Beauty. A literary monthly] (Tartu, 1919-1921) 11 of 12 numbers each containing full-page illustrations and many original graphics showcasing a single artist, and literary contributions by Estonia’s leading modernists.

 

The Ukrainian Print Legacy of the “Surma” Book & Music Store

Earlier this summer, many of you no doubt saw the article by Noah Remnick “With Shop’s Closing, Little Ukraine Grows Smaller,” in the NYT of June 6.  The article concerned the closing of Surma Book & Music Company.  Founded by Ukrainian immigrant Myron Surmach some 98 years ago, the shop had occupied the East 7th street location since 1943.

img_0714Surma’s location at 11 East 7th Street in Manhattan

When Myron’s grandson Markian Surmach decided to sell the building and close up shop, he wished to ensure that the printed legacy of his grandfather’s publishing and book and sheet music retail business was not lost to posterity, and so he donated to the Columbia University Libraries some 140 titles published mainly between 1910 and the 1950s.  Many of these titles are quite rare, with few (or no) holding institutions, and document the Ukrainian community as

img_0717img_0715Examples of early sheet music

it adapted to life in the Greater Metropolitan area.   Now in the process of cataloging, The Surmach Family Collection of Ukrainian Imprints is a wonderful, unique addition to Columbia’s holdings.

Supplemental Purchase Expands Russian Imperial & Early Soviet Sheet Music Collection

img_0773One of the most visually exciting additions to Columbia’s holdings was the purchase of ninety-five additional examples of late Imperial and early Soviet sheet music.  Columbia’s holdings, catalogued collectively at https://clio.columbia.edu/catalog/10290450  are quite likely the largest in any North American collection from this era, now including some 268 titles.

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SAMP Open Archives Initiative

Columbia University is one of 23 institutions that has joined the South Asia Materials Project Open Archives Initiative. The SAMP Open Archives Initiative will create and maintain a collection of open archives materials in all academic disciplines for the study of South Asia. For more details, see the SAMP OAi business plan.

The SAMP OAi has a position opening for a Program Coordinator. Applicants should preferably have either an MLIS degree or an advanced degree in Asian Studies.

Imagining the World: Exhibit Reception

Thanks to all who joined us at the reception for the reception for the exhibit opening of Imagining the World: Unexplored Global Collections at Columbia on April 17.  Some pictures of the opening (and the exhibit itself) are included below.  The exhibit will be in the Chang Octagon Room of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library through June 24, so please do come visit!

The Global Studies Curatorial Team

The Global Studies Curatorial Team (Socrates Silva, Rob Davis, Peter Magierski, Yuusuf Caruso, Michelle Chesner, Pamela Graham, Gary Hausman)

Yuusuf Caruso and the African Studies case

Yuusuf Caruso and the African Studies case

GS_exhibit-8

Lively discussion

“Imagining the World: Unexplored Global Collections at Columbia”

Imagining the World 7Opening the week of April 4, 2016, in the Chang Octagon of The Rare Books & Manuscripts Library, a new exhibition will offer researchers an opportunity to view a sampling of the rare and the unusual in Columbia’s Global Studies collections.  The items on display until June 24, range in date from 1454 CE to 2014 CE, in a variety of formats, including books, manuscripts, maps, photos, posters, scrolls, sheet music, stamps, and typescripts, and encompassing more than 19 languages or scripts:  Arabic, Czech, English, French, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Latin, Malayalam, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Sanskrit, Spanish, Tamil, Ukrainian, Urdu, and Wolof.  This small exhibit represents only a fraction of what is collected by the Libraries to support global studies research and teaching.

A reception to celebrate the exhibition, with refreshments and keynote speaker Avinoam Shalem, Riggio Professor of the History of the Arts of Islam, will be held in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library on Tuesday, April 19, 2016, 5:30-7:00 pm

 

Online Resource: American Jewish Joint Distribution Council Archives

The JDC Archives holds the institutional records of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee since its founding in 1914. Given the nature of JDC’s work and the role it has played over more than a century of activity, these collections are among the most significant in the world for the study of modern Jewish history and immigration.

The online collections database now has more than 2.6 million pages of documents available. These are fully searchable, with pdfs of the individual documents, and open to scholars, students, and the general public at http://search.archives.jdc.org. Online finding aids for the collections are available at http://archives.jdc.org/explore-the-archives/using-the-archives.html.

This database also includes more than 67,000 digitized photographs that document JDC’s activity around the world throughout the twentieth century, not only in Europe and Israel but also in the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Asia.

The Names Index holds more than 500,000 names and is a major source of information for genealogists and family historians. Search results include links to the digitized source documents—index cards, lists, remittances, and others—from which the names were drawn.

The JDC Archives website at http://archives.jdc.org includes curated exhibits, photo galleries, topic guides for educators, and an interactive timeline of JDC history. You will also find guidance on how to search the collections, including video tutorials.

(Image: Jews from the Bergen-Belsen Concentration camp with a memorial to those who died there)

New Database Trial: Early Arabic Printed Books From the British Library

Library has arranged trial access to Early Arabic Printed Books From the British Library.

EAPB-homepage-screenshot-revised
The trial runs through March 14, 2016 :
http://infotrac.galegroup.com/itweb/columbiau?db=EAPB&id=columbiau

From publisher’s description:
“Early Arabic Printed Books from the British Library represents the digitization of one of the world’s most important Arabic collections, based on A.G. Ellis’ catalog from 1894. The full collection includes books on a variety of subjects, printed from the fifteenth to nineteenth century in Arabic script, as well as translations into European and Asian languages. Together, these works demonstrate Europe’s fascination with and assimilation of thinking from the Arabic-speaking world. This is the first major text-searchable online archive of pre-20th century Arabic printed books. Early Arabic Printed Books from the British Library is part of Gale’s Arabic program which aims to provide Arabic primary resources for teaching and research. Early Arabic Printed Books from the British Library: Religion and Law features numerous editions of the Qur’an with commentaries, traditions (Hadith), works of the religious life and much more”
More at: http://gale.cengage.co.uk/arabic.aspx

Trial access is available to current faculty, staff and students of Columbia University.
Please send comments and evaluation remarks to pm2650@columbia.edu