Author Archives: Columbia Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Talk | Philology and Authenticity: Lorenzo Valla, Constantine, and Styles of Renaissance Reading

November 1, 4:30 pm
Bulter 203 (with a post-talk reception in the RBML’s Kempner Gallery)

Dean of Georgetown College and Professor of Classics and History at Georgetown University, Christopher Celenza will deliver the sixth Paul O. Kristeller lecture.

He is the author of The Intellectual World of the Italian Renaissance: Language, Philosophy, and the Search for Meaning (2018), Petrach: Everywhere a Wanderer (2017), and Machiavelli: A Portrait (2014).

This event is co-sponsored by the Italian Academy. Registration is required

 

Talk | Re-embracing the Lachrymose Theory of Jewish History: Dialogue with a Columbia Tradition

October 30, 2018 @ 6PM
Faculty House Garden Room 2

Norman E. Alexander Lecture in Jewish Studies

In his multi-volume social and religious history of the Jews, Salo Baron, one of the most influential Jewish historians of the 20th century, decried how Jewish history had been told and retold as an endless tale of woe. Instead, Baron stressed that, in the diaspora, Jews did not necessarily suffer more than other members of the societies in which they resided, and often lived creatively within Christian and Islamic lands.

This evening Benjamin Gampel will explain how Baron’s claims about the Jews grew out of the social and religious landscape of the early twentieth century Europe. Gampel will argue, based on his understanding of medieval Jewish history, that a newer understanding of the lachrymose history of the Jews could well be seen as an appropriate way to appreciate the saga of this minority people and be of importance, as well, to the social and religious challenges facing contemporary Jewry.

Co-sponsored by Columbia University Libraries, Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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