South & Southeast Asia Columbia Libraries Newsletter Launched

The first issue of a South & Southeast Asia, Columbia University Libraries Newsletter has been launched. Those interested in subscribing to future newsletter mailings, and in viewing archived newsletters, can visit the following link. The newsletter will provide periodic updates of South/Southeast Asia library acquisitions and developments at Columbia University Libraries.

Colonial Law in Africa — New Online Primary Resource at Columbia

Columbia University Libraries has acquired a new online primary resource:

Colonial Law in Africa: African Government Gazettes, 1808-1919 and 1920-1945

An extensive collection of “digitized” legal records on British colonial African territories, covering the 19th and 20th centuries, selected from the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office, and part of the “British Online Archives” series from Microform Academic Publishers.

Columbia faculty, students, and other library patrons with borrowing privileges, can now access the first two parts of this collection of government gazettes and legal notices which are relevant to research on the impact of the Napoleonic Wars, the Boer War, the First World War, the abolition of the legal status of slavery, the transfer of Southern Rhodesia from the British South Africa Company to formal colonial rule, the impact of the Treaty of Versailles on Tanganyika and Zanzibar, and on British colonial policies during the Second World War throughout Africa.

Part I: 1808-1919

Part II: 1920-1945

*NOTE: This collection complements the British colonial “African Blue Books, 1821-1953.” ; as well as, “Retrospective Government Gazettes” of South Africa, 1910-1993

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