Newly Acquired | Papers of author Lydia Davis

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve acquired the archives of multi-award winning author Lydia Davis.

Her archive features corrected drafts of her 2004 novel, The End of the Story, and stories, personal correspondence and journals dating back to her adolescence, as well as notes and drafts relating to her translation projects and her 35 years of teaching.

Continue reading

Oral history collection on addiction featured in NPR podcast, Throughline

Addiction and the opioid epidemic gripping the nation are investigated in a new NPR podcast, Throughline.

Taking advantage of decades of NPR’s archival sound and the Oral History Archives at Columbia’s collections, podcast co-host Rund Abdelfatah spent time here in the RBML listening to the voices and stories of people struggling with addiction. The interviews are part of Professor David Courtwright’s collection, Addicts Who Survived.* You can listen to the episode on NPR’s site.

* Addicts Who Survived is a collection undergoing processing, meaning it’s being transcribed, cataloged and preserved by OHAC’s archivist and the Libraries’ staff. 

Exhibition | Remaking the World: Columbians and the 1919 Peace Conference

If you’re enjoying PBS’ Women, War and Peace series, stop in to the RBML for our current exhibit, Remaking the World. The exhibit explores Columbia University’s connections to the 1919 Peace Conference. To be specific, the exhibit explores the role of men deemed significant to The Paris Peace Conference, also known as the Versailles Peace Conference.

poster of versaille hall and illustration of weeping angel

Continue reading

RBML Pulitzer collections on PBS’ American Masters 📺📰📺📰📺

portrait of Pulitzer in suit and spectacles

Joseph Pulitzer, photo portrait. Photographer and date not listed.

Mere days ahead of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize announcements, tune in Friday, April 12, 2019 for the debut of a new program, Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People.

The makers of the long-running PBS series, American Masters, visited the RBML to examine the Pulitzer and World paper collections, speak with Curator for Performing Arts Jenny Lee and filmed a few scenes in the RBML reading room.

If you miss the program on terrestrial TV, you can watch it in the 28 days following the initial airing online for free.

“A journalist is the lookout on the bridge of the Ship of State.” – Joseph Pulitzer

New and Updated Collections | March 2019

rows of archival boxes in a white room

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

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

Dawn Powell Papers
“Dawn Powell (1896-1965) was an American author of novels, plays, and short stories. The collection includes address books, appointment books, books, clippings, correspondence, diaries, ephemera, family materials, manuscripts, notes, notebooks, photographs, programs, research files, reviews, scrapbooks, sketches and drawings. ”

Kudos to Cathy for making sense of this fascinating but sprawling collection; for a tiny taste, here’s an excerpt from the finding aid:

“…portions of the collection were deposited and then either donated or sold to Columbia University in several different tax years during the period of 1995-2014, and this affected how the papers were organized, processed, and maintained by the Library until processing of all collection materials was completed in 2019.”

LGBTQ+ Columbia University oral history collection, 2016-2017
“The LGBTQ+ Columbia University oral history project was a collaboration between Columbia University’s LGBTQ Faculty Diversity Initiative and the Columbia Center for Oral History Research at INCITE. During 2016-2017, a six-interview pilot was undertaken to document LGBTQ history at Columbia University through life histories.” Continue reading

Library Week Feature: what can we learn from Nella Larsen’s application to library school?

We see you every day, handing you a lockers key as you walk in each morning, and receiving it back toward the end of the day.
Most often you’re hunkered down over a particular archive, getting to understand a portion of one of our archives better than anyone who works in the RBML. We await the longer scholarly projects that you’re developing from this research but in the nearer term we thought it would be interesting to give a preview of your work.
 
In this brief interview, Professor Emerita Barbara Hochman of Ben-Gurion University’s Department of Foreign Literatures and Linguistics tells us about her research for her recently published article, “Filling in Blanks: Nella Larsen’s Application to Library School” (paywall). 
 

 

Working in an archive, one never knows which scrap of paper will be revealing.

What brings you to Columbia’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library?

I came to RBML to examine the library school application of Harlem Renaissance writer Nella Larsen. I had been intrigued for some time by both her fiction and her career trajectory. She had successfully transitioned from nursing, to librarianship, to authorship in less than a decade, but although her novel Passing won substantial acclaim when it appeared in 1929, her story “Sanctuary” drew plagiarism charges just one year later. Larsen subsequently cut off her ties with the literary world she knew, stopped writing, and returned to nursing; she died alone and forgotten, leaving no papers. While working on an essay about the way Larsen used her reading in her writing (“Love and Theft: Plagiarism, Blackface, and Nella Larsen’s ‘Sanctuary,’American Literature [September 2016]: 509-540) I learned from George Hutchinson’s biography that Larsen was the first African American to be accepted to [Columbia’s] library school in the United States, and that her application was housed at Columbia. I was curious to see the material artifact in its entirety. Continue reading

100 years of Bauhaus

Bauhaus, the German school where crafts met fine arts and spawned a style, brand and movement, turns 100 this year.

Walter Gropius received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at a 1961 commencement. Columbia President Grayson Kirk recognized him as “a formulator of architectural controls which help to guide the Contemporary Movement” and as a “eminently vital practitioner” within the Bauhaus Movement.page from Walter Gropius oral history transcript

Stop in to the Rare Book & Manuscript Library to read  Gropius’ 1961 lecture, part of the Architecture Project in the Oral History Archives at Columbia.

New oral history collection available | Columbia’s LGBTQ Oral History Project

Newly available in the RBML’s reading room and oral history archives is a six-interview collection detailing the lives and experiences of LGBTQ+ people and allies affiliated with Columbia University. Low Library lit up with rainbow colored lights

The LGBTQ Columbia University Oral History Project includes interviews with noted alumni and affiliates John D’Emilio, Tony Kushner, Robbie Kaplan, Ann Kansfield, Laura Pinsky and Dennis Mitchell.

Read more about the project on the Center for Oral History Research’s website.

Book History Colloquium | Who made this book? Bookwork in the Global Supply Chain

18 April 2019 | 6pm | Room 523 Butler Library

Most any author can tell you who published their book, but how many know where it was printed? Or by whom?

This talk explores the nature of contemporary bookmaking amid the realities of a global supply chain, an increasingly casualized labor market, and digital workflows that effortlessly move digital files around the world. Continue reading