New exhibition | Persian Bookbinding

flowered wallpaper background

Following the introduction of lacquer-painting in the 15th century, bookbindings became a rejuvenated site for creative expression in Iran.

‘In the School of Wisdom’ presents over thirty examples, representing the diversity of the art as it developed from the late Safavid to Qajar eras and contextualizing it within a changing landscape of libraries and book culture.

Discussion | The Art and Craft of Stage Design

woman standing in front of artwork

Tony Award Winning Stage Designer Christine Jones

Thursday, October 25, 2018, 6:00 PM9:00 PM
203 Butler Library 

In conjunction with the exhibition “Florenz Ziegeld & Joseph Urban: Transforming Broadway,” Professor Arnold Aronson (School of the Arts) will discuss the legacy and contemporary relevance of Joseph Urban with Tony Award Winning Stage Designer Christine Jones (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child).

Christine Jones, 2018 Tony Award winner for Scenic Design for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One & Two, 2010 Tony Award winner for American Idiot, and designer of numerous other productions including the recent Las-Vegas themed Rigoletto for the Metropolitan Opera. Arnold Aronson, Professor of Theatre in Columbia’s School of the Arts, is a theatre historian with specializations in scenography and avant-garde theatre.He has been at Columbia since 1991.

This event is co-sponsored by the School of the Arts. RSVP is required.

Gallery Talk | The Second-Hand Binding

October 23, 2018, 6:00 PM
523 Butler

Reproduction technologies, from chromolithography to digitization, have long been heralded as boon as to scholarship in the arts of the book. Nevertheless, bookbinding, especially that from the Muslim world, has remained at the fringes of the field.

Exhibition curator Matthew Gillman will talk about the historical circumstances (such early modern libraries, second-hand book markets, and Orientalist scholarship) which create difficulties for the study of the art.

 

Lorenzo Da Ponte returns to Columbia

etching of white man

Lorenzo Da Ponte from the Columbia Record, 10 May 1991, article announcing the exhibition “Lorenzo Da Ponte: A Vision of Italy from Columbia College” at Low Library.

On October 15 and 17, the Cagliari Opera House will present the first modern rendering of the opera L’Ape Musicale (The Musical Bee) in the Rotunda of Columbia University’s Low Memorial Library, at 7:30pm. The performance is part of a symposium, Lorenzo Da Ponte and the Birth of Italian Opera in New York. Both events are free, ticketed and open to the public.

L’Ape Musicale is Lorenzo Da Ponte’s final libretto and the first Italian opera conceived and staged in the United States. Da Ponte, author of Mozart’s best known librettos (The Marriage of Figaro (1786), Don Giovanni (1787) and Cosi fan tutte (1790)), was the first Professor of Italian at Columbia.

Continue reading

Old-school Columbia freshman fashion

young white men in beanies on college campus

Freshmen students in beanies leaving a building on campus. Source: Historical Photograph Collection, Columbia University Archives.

“Never neglect to say ‘hello’ to a man who wears a Freshman cap, whether you know his name or not.” – Columbia Blue Book, 1917-18

Proudly worn as symbols of a freshman’s distinctive but lowly position on campus, these caps helped the new classmates forge a close allegiance amongst themselves and against their greatest detractors: the sophomores. The wearing of the beanies was mandatory and a bareheaded freshman was an outrage to sophomores. The 1927-28 Columbia Blue Book (a handbook for first year students) contained freshman rules – including the requirement to wear your freshman cap at all times – and noted that rule-breakers would be “summarily dealt with.”

Continue reading

Alice was here

Tomorrow, October 6th, is Mad Hatter Day! University Archivist Jocelyn Wilk shares a Columbia connection to the day, which celebrates the Hatter, a key character in Lewis Carol’s Alice in Wonderland.
Bronze statue of the Mad Hatter

Mad Hatter, Alice in Wonderland, Llandudno.

 

Did you know that Alice in Wonderland came to visit Columbia and was awarded an honorary degree?

You may think us mad to suggest such a thing, but, indeed, this actually happened!

In May 1932 Alice Pleasance Hargreaves, the “Alice” of Lewis Carroll’s works, came to New York City and Columbia University, in particular, to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s birth. Festivities at the University included an exhibition held in the Avery Library of “Carrolliana” assembled from collectors throughout the country.

Mrs. Hargreaves’ participation took two forms. On May 2, in a private ceremony, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by Columbia President Nicholas Murray Butler in the Rotunda of Low Memorial Library. In her acceptance speech, Mrs. Hargreaves said: “I shall remember it and prize it for the rest of my days, which may not be very long. I love to think, however unworthy I am, that Mr. Dodgson – Lewis Carroll – knows and rejoices with me.”

woman and man in graduation caps and gowns

Columbia University Honors the Original Alice of “Alice in Wonderland”. New York City.- Mrs. Reginald Liddell Hargreaves, for whom Lewis Carroll wrote the book which is now one of the world’s classics, with President Nicholas Murray Butler of Columbia University after the private ceremony in which she was given the degree of Doctor of Letters. 5/3/32.
Source: Historical Photograph Collection, Columbia University Archives.

Continue reading

New Resource | Notable Columbians

 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg leading a seminar discussion at the School of Law, ca. 1975 (Scan 4330) Historical Photograph Collection (Box 46). University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.

At the University Archives, working with researchers allows us to learn about a wide range of Columbians.

From a researcher, we learned about Otelia Cromwell, the first African American woman to receive a PhD at Yale. (Cromwell received a Master’s degree from Columbia in 1911.)

Another asked us about Anni Weiss-Frankl, one of the early researchers working on what is now known as autism. (Born Anni Babette Weiss, she was a student and an Associate of Child Guidance at Columbia University’s Teachers College in the late 1930s.)

But there are certain Columbians whom researchers frequently ask about.

In response to a recent flurry of requests about certain individuals associated with Columbia we’ve added a new section to our research guide: Notable Columbians. This guide provides information on what and how you can find materials related to these three amazing individuals: Bhimrao Ambedkar, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and V.K. Wellington Koo. We provide links to digitized resources (including PDFs of documents scanned for previous users) wherever possible and direct users to relevant analog collections across our holdings and those of the RBML.

Continue reading

Newly available RBML collections – September 2018

Head Archivist Kevin Schlottmann shares collections newly opened by RBML archivists.

A large addition to the New York Clearinghouse records was processed,
and the finding aid substantially improved: “New York Clearing House Association (now The Clearing House Association) was founded in 1853 as the first banking clearing house
in the United States. The records include amicus briefs, constitutions
and amendments, letter books, meeting minutes, financial ledgers and
statements, photographs, publications, and reports. ”

The finding aid for the Nicholas Murray Butler papers has been
encoded, with over 33,000 names of correspondents listed.

Columbia University Cuneiform Collection
“The collection consists of 625 cuneiform tablets (dating from circa
3100-539 BCE), and some ancient clay objects. Accompanying these are
some twentieth century casts, and a collection of catalogs of the
collection, articles about various parts, especially Plimpton 322, and
correspondence about the tablets, including a number of letters,
mostly from Edgar J. Banks, to George A. Plimpton, and others about
tablets now in the Columbia collection.”

A. J. A. Symons papers
“A small group of materials, chiefly consisting of English writer and
bibliographer A. J. A. Symons’ correspondence and records related to
the First Edition Club, which Symons founded in 1922. Stuart B.
Schimmel collected the materials.”

Susan Orlean papers
“This collection documents Orlean’s career as a writer and a
journalist, and also includes some personal materials and school
papers. The collection includes address books, appointment books,
audio recordings, clippings, computer files, contracts,
correspondence, drafts, interviews, notes, notebooks, photographs,
proofs, publications, research materials, school records, and video
recordings. ” Continue reading

Book History Colloquium 2018 | Huxleyed into the Full Orwell

September 26, 2018, 6:00pm
Butler 523

Cory Doctorow at lecture podium

Photo by Brendan Lynch via Flickr

Journalist and science fiction writer Cory Doctorow will talk about the millennia-old social compact of the book, and the arbitrary renegotiation of that contract in the age of ebooks, where prior restraint, restrictions on lending, donation and gifting, and invasive, surveillant technologies have become the norm.

He will investigate how technology and license agreements have gone on to colonize our relationships with other devices and systems, from voting machines to tractors, insulin pumps to thermostats.

Co-sponsored by the Brown Institue for Media Innovation, Heyman Center. RSVP here