Author Archives: Columbia Rare Book & Manuscript Library

George Arthur Plimpton and Hebrew Manuscripts

The interconnections between collections here in the RBML continue to emerge as researchers use our materials, but also as our librarians continue to be curious scholars and preservations.

Michelle Chesner, Librarian for Jewish Studies, and Jane Siegel, Rare Book Librarian, discovered this connection between the George Plimpton collection and our Jewish Studies collections: 

Thanks to the intrepid work of Jane Siegel, we have been able to identify two additional pieces of Hebrew manuscript, included in a handbook (PLIMPTON MS 093.93 1630) of handwritings (writing samples was one of Plimpton’s many collection strengths).  Both are handwriting samples from Amsterdam.

Torah scroll by David Friedrichsfeld

Read the full post on the Jewish Studies blog and see more images of this cross-collection find.

Grant Awarded | CLIR Bob Fass

fass in recording studio with musicians

“Radio Unnameable” host Bob Fass with a group of in-studio guests. Courtesy of Lost Footage Films.

Columbia University will preserve and provide access to almost two decades’ worth of audiotapes from the archive of groundbreaking broadcaster Bob Fass. Through a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources, the RBML and Columbia’s Preservation and Digital Conversion Division will preserve Fass’ broadcasts from the 1960s and ’70s.

A pioneer of “free form” radio for seven decades, Fass is best known for his late-night program Radio Unnameable. During the sixties it featured unscripted appearances by poets and musicians like Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan, and social activists like Abbie Hoffman and Timothy Leary – a forum where listeners could interact with their idols and one another.

In 1968 alone, Fass broadcast live events like the “Yip In” at Grand Central Station, Columbia University student protests, and the Chicago Democratic National convention. Once digitized, these recordings will be a major resource to study mobilization of dissent via mass-media in late-twentieth century America.

And happy birthday, Mr. Fass! Today (June 29th) is his 85th birthday.

Here’s what John Jay did after the American Revolution

front page of Gotham blog

Robb Haberman, Associate Editor of The Selected Papers of John Jay, recently shared findings from his research with The Gotham Center for New York City History:

Recently returned from his mission in London to assume the role of New York’s chief executive, Jay perceived that revolutionary France posed an even greater danger to the United States than had monarchial Britain and he sensed that the political turmoil and warfare unleashed in Europe would envelop other Atlantic nations and therefore emphasized the necessity of military preparedness. “Imbecility invites insult and aggression,” he counseled the state legislature in his inaugural address, “and the experience of ages proves that they are the most secure against war who are the best prepared to meet it.

Read the full post,   “Defending New York After the Revolution: the Governorship of John Jay.

 

Opening June 18th, “Enchanted Vision” draws on the Arthur Rackham Collection held here at the RBML.illustration of a sprite

Rackham, a British illustrator illustrated 50 major works beginning with Rip Van Winkle in 1905, Alice in Wonderland, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Winnie the Pooh, and other English and American classics.

The collection contains 26 letters by Rackham and nine Christmas cards either specially designed by him or incorporating designs made for his books. There are also letters to Rackham’s biographer, Derek Hudson, from Winifred Wheeler, daughter of Walter Freeman, a friend who started Rackham on his commercial career. The manuscript notebooks, galley proofs, and a printed copy of Hudson’s Arthur Rackham: His Life and Work are included.

In addition, the Columbia University Library has a collection of 413 Rackham drawings, watercolors, and oil paintings, 30 sketch books, and about 400 printed books and ephemera.

 

Newly Available Collections – June 2018

Head Archivist Kevin Schlottmann shares collections newly opened by RBML archivists.word archive in script

El Diario/La Prensa Photograph Morgue, 1970-2006
“El Diario/La Prensa is the largest and oldest Spanish-language daily
newspaper in New York City, and the oldest Spanish-language daily in
the United States. The El Diario/La Prensa Photograph Morgue contains
photographs and associated materials kept as reference, or morgue,
files by the newspaper’s staff. It documents events and personalities
significant to New York City’s Spanish-speaking communities between
approximately 1970 and 2006.”

Norman Witty Cinema Collection, 1917-2008
“A collection of rare periodicals, books, and printed ephemera on
topics related to cinema history, assembled by the cinema enthusiast
and rare book collector Norman Witty (1941-2013).”

Society for Classical Studies records, 1868-2018
The collection was confusingly numbered and had various accessions in
multiple places; the finding aid is now accurate and up-to-date.

Development Foundation of Turkey (DFT) collection 1966-2005
“DFT’s two-pronged approach with human resources deveopment and
technical assistance that developed a single coordinated system
covering income generation, promotion of technical and social skills,
awareness building about environmental protection, assistance for
sustainable management models, institutional development of
communities, and advocacy for the rural households could be of
interest to the Columbia Library Collection and may provide ample data
for researchers and students interested in achieving a better
understanding of the socio-economic development in rural Turkey since
1970s.”

Rita Raǐt-Kovaleva Correspondence, 1965-1981
A small amount of correspondence of Rita Rait-Kovaleva (1898-1989), a
prominent literary translator, with Sara Ginsburg and Lynn Visson.

Summer travels with the University Archives            

Now that Commencement has passed and the campus has calmed, are you thinking summer about travel plans?

Here’s some inspiration from the University Archives: three travel diaries from three very different writers and from very different times and circumstances.

SS Bremen, Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-11081 / Georg Pahl / CC-BY-SA 3.0

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RBML summer hours and have a restful Memorial Day

Commencement has come and gone on Columbia’s campus. Bleachers are clattering down in front of Butler Library and RBML researchers are making their way into our reading room in a steady stream.

A few reminders:

  • Always check the RBML website for our summer hours.
  • We’ve put in place new security measures to make sure that our collections are safe and accessible for all users. These include inspecting personal materials before you leave the reading room.
  • You can complete registration and ordering materials before you arrive at RBML. This will help you know which materials need to be ordered in advance and which are readily available onsite. Our materials are clearly marked in red text if they are located offsite and need to be ordered in advance.

Enjoy the long holiday weekend!

cat under red white and blue fhat

Giphy

CU summer housing: Lorca slept here

Welcome to the start of Columbia’s 2018 summer session!

We recently processed a collection of Columbia Men’s Residence Hall Registers and Ledger Books. The registers served as a directory of residents for each of the earliest dorms on the Morningside campus. Organized by last name and first initial, the books list the room number, mail box number, check-in and check-out dates, and a forwarding address. The “office boys” kept these registers at the front desk to note when residents arrived, when keys were returned, as well as for handling deliveries and other requests. On the inside pages, the books include contact information for area hospitals, cab companies and messenger services.

Columbia residence hall ledger with Lorca signature

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