Category Archives: Publishing

rows of archival boxes in a white room

New and Updated Collections | November 2018

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

Ian and Betty Ballantine Books and Business Records
“Ian and Betty Ballantine were book publishers who contributed to the
growth of paperback book sales in the United States between the 1940s
and the 1990s. The Ian and Betty Ballantine Books and Business Records
include the Ballantines’ materials related to Penguin Books USA,
Bantam Books, Ballantine Books, and Peacock Books. Administrative
documents cover the management of these presses as well as the
editorial, sales, inventorying, and advertising processes. In
addition, the collection contains the bulk of the editorial libraries
of Penguin Books USA, Bantam Books, and Ballantine Books.”

Pamela Moore Papers
“Pamela Moore (1937-1964) was an American novelist, best known for
Chocolates for Breakfast (1956). The papers contain correspondence,
clippings, contracts, diaries, drafts, manuscripts, memorabilia,
photographs, notebooks, notes, outlines, proofs, school materials,
sketch books, and a collection of published editions of Moore’s
novels”

Li Huang papers, 1928-1981
“The Li Huang papers contain manuscripts of his political writings
dating from 1929 to 1971, as well as reference materials for his
memoir.”

Kwang Pu Chen papers, 1936-1958
“The Kwang Pu Chen papers consist of documents and printed materials
assembled during Chen’s career in banking and finance, including his
negotiations for American loans (1938-1940), his affiliation with the
Universal Trading Corporation (1938-1958), Foreign Trade Commission
(1939-1940), Burma Road (1939-1940), Chinese Currency Stabilization
Fund and the Stabilization Board of China (1939-1943), and Foreign
Exchange Equalization Fund Committee (1947-1948)”

William Lambert Papers
“This collection consists of journalist William G. Lambert’s
(1920-1998) collected investigative materials such as correspondence,
news clippings, notes, notebooks, photographs and transcripts related
to his award winning reporting for The Oregonian, Portland, and for
Life magazine. In 1957, Lambert and his colleague Wallace L. Turner
(1921-2010) received the Pulitzer Prize for their reporting, which
uncovered widespread vice and corruption within the municipal Portland
city government that involved labor union officials of the
International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and
Helpers of America, Western Conference. In 1970, Lambert accepted the
George Polk Award for his 1969 Life magazine reporting, which revealed
that U.S. Associate Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas (1910-1982)
accepted and later returned a suspect $20,000 fee, spurring Fortas’
resignation.”

Laura Engelstein Collection of Research Note Cards on Social and
Cultural History of Late Imperial Russia, bulk 1982 – 1992
“This collection is a wonderful glimpse into the research process of
distinguished professor Laura Engelstein, and also brings a great deal
of otherwise scattered (in Russian archives) material together on
topics of human sexuality in Imperial Russia. ”

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.

What is this place? A short intro to RBML

That is the question we hear a lot at the beginning of the new academic year as students explore Butler Library and end up here, in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, aka “The Pink Palace.”

pink castle design and acronym rbml

Is there difference between a “castle” and a “palace?”

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML) is Columbia’s principal repository for primary source collections.  The range of collections in the RBML spans more than 4,000 years and includes rare printed works, cylinder seals, cuneiform tablets, papyri, and Coptic ostraca; medieval and renaissance manuscripts; posters; art; comics & cartoons, and oral histories.

Forming the core of the collections: 500,000 printed books, 14 miles of manuscripts, personal papers, archives and records, and 10,000 (and counting) oral histories.

Continue reading

2/2 @ 6PM “Blooks”: The Arts of Books that Aren’t

A panel discussion with Mindell Dubansky (Metropolitan Museum of Art), Lynn Festa (Rutgers University), and Bruce and Lynn Heckman (collectors).  Part of the Book History Colloquium at Columbia.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

6:00 PM8:30 PM

Go Set a Watchman in the papers of Harper Lee’s literary agents

Lee_October1957

Nelle Harper Lee, photographed by friend Michael Brown in October 1957, the same month that she signed the contract with Lippincott.

HarperCollins publishes Harper Lee’s novel Go Set a Watchman today, July 14, 2015.  With an initial print run of 2 million copies, this is the most highly anticipated book release of the year, carefully promoted by HarperCollins since their February 3rd announcement .

Go Set a Watchman’s publication has also generated advance press in the form of controversy. HarperCollins has billed the novel as a sequel to the Pulitzer prize-winning and perennially best-selling To Kill a Mockingbird. But Lee’s biographer Charles Shields asserts that Go Set a Watchman was an early draft of To Kill a Mockingbird.

In The Washington Post, Neely Tucker questioned the timing of the decision to publish the novel sixty years after its composition and within months of the death of Nelle Lee’s protective older sister, Alice.  Alexandra Alter and Serge Kovaleski in The New York Times have pointed out discrepancies in the narrative about GSAW‘s composition and re-discovery given by HarperCollins and Lee’s current lawyer, Tonya Carter.  NPR books also reviews the debate about the novel’s genesis and the decision to publish.

The papers of Nelle Harper Lee’s literary agents, Annie Laurie Williams and Maurice Crain, held by the Columbia Rare Book & Manuscript Library, have factored in these debates.  The visitor cards kept by Williams track the submission of manuscripts by agency authors and provide a detailed timeline for the creation and eventual shelving of the manuscript for Go Set a WatchmanALW_VisitorCard_1 ALW_VisitorCard_2ALW_VisitorCard_3On the series of sequentially numbered cards above, one can see that starting on January 14, 1957, Harper Lee began delivering the pages of Go Set a Watchman at a steady pace of approximately fifty pages per week until it is noted as completed on February 27, 1957.  The manuscript then underwent editing, and by October 17, 1957, a fully edited manuscript was sold to J.B. Lippincott without a title, a fact corroborated by Maurice Crain’s facsimile of the contract in a contracts ledger, the first page of which is pictured below.Crain_Contract-1Lee then spent two years revising the novel. On the third of the sequential notecards pictured above (note the typed numbers in the upper-right corner of the notecards), a new title for the novel contracted by Lippincott emerges: To Kill a Mockingbird.  A separate card (below) from a file that Annie Laurie Williams kept for manuscripts also illustrates the change of title.  Filed under Lippincott, To Kill a Mockingbird appears above Go Set a Watchman, which has been crossed out. This emendation and the sequence of submissions noted in the visitor cards supports Nelle Lee’s comment that GSAW is the “parent” of TKAM, a novel set in Maycomb years after the plot of TKAM but drafted before.ALW_LippincotManuscriptCard_1Annie Laurie Williams (1894-1977) was already a successful literary agent known for Hollywood successes such as Gone with the Wind (1939) by the time she and Maurice Crain teamed up as life and business partners. Together Williams and Crain handled the work of literary greats such as John Steinbeck and Nelle Harper Lee.  Williams donated her and Crain’s papers to Columbia University in 1971.

Nelle Lee first contacted the agents in 1956. The earliest visitor cards in the collection note that Lee first submitted short stories to her agents and that they first received her as a friend of Truman Capote. The papers of Williams and Crain show that they developed a close friendship with Lee, whom they often invited to join them at their weekend home in Connecticut. But documentation concerning Lee’s writing and revision process is scant, perhaps because so much of the discussion was conducted in person.

A statement published in the WSJ yesterday by Tonja Carter, as well as Jonathan Mahler’s New York Times article focusing on Lee’s relationship to her editor at Lippincott, Tay Hohoff, suggests that there is more evidence to consider as this newly visible work changes the conversation about one of the country’s most beloved novelists. Initial reviews of Go Set a Watchman (by Michiku Kakutani in The New York Times and Mark Lawson in The Guardian) have raised questions about the diverging racial politics of the two novels, for example. Hopefully access to a second work by Harper Lee will bring more critical and scholarly attention to her writing as well.

This blog post and a small exhibit of these materials currently up in the Columbia Rare Book & Manuscript Library were put together by Tom McCutchon and Karla Nielsen.

2/26 @ 6 PM – Book History Colloquium: “The Future of the (Digital) Book”

Digital Book

Diana Taylor, Professor of Latin American Studies and Performance, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, Latino Studies, New York University and Alexei Taylor, interactive designer

Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 6:00 PM

Butler Library, Room 523

This talk addresses two major quandaries regarding the future of the (digital) scholarly book. The first has to do with the concept of ‘book’ when applied to books written for the screen and read on phones by generations that have grown up with the internet and touch screen devices. What role does a press have when ‘books’ are designed and coded by technologists, preserved on the cloud, and disseminated through social media? What implications does this have for the classroom? For academic institutions grounded in libraries? For legal and classification regimes such as copyright and ISBNs? The second question has to do with the changing understanding of scholarship itself. The speakers will provide examples from the digital books they have created to address these issues.

——————————-

Diana Taylor is University Professor and Professor of Performance Studies and Spanish at NYU. She is the author of the award-winning Theatre of Crisis: Drama and Politics in Latin America (1991), Disappearing Acts: Spectacles of Gender and Nationalism in Argentina’s ‘Dirty War’ (1997), The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas (Duke University Press, 2003), which won the Outstanding Book from the Association of Theatre in Higher Education, and the Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize for Best Book in Latin American and Hispanic Studies from the Modern Language Association. She has received many awards and fellowships, including the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005, Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar award (2012-13), and the ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship (2013-2014). She is founding director of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics.

Alexei Taylor is an interactive designer of screen-based publishing and authoring systems. As the co-founder of TypeFold, a company that develops digital publications and software, Taylor’s focus is on a variety of authoring systems for classrooms, e-books, interactive journals, and virtual museums that utilize maps, augmented reality, streaming data and community. He has taught graduate and under graduate classes in design and technology and uses this experience to challenge the role of interactivity, collaboration and media in pedagogy. Taylor holds an M.P.S from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.

——————————-

Co-sponsored with the Hispanic Institute of the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures at Columbia University and the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship at Columbia University

——————————-

The Book History Colloquium at Columbia University, open to any discipline, aims to provide a broad outlet for the scholarly discussion of book history, print culture, the book arts, and bibliographical research, and (ideally) the promotion of research and publication in these fields. Our presenters include Columbia faculty members and advanced graduate students, and scholars of national prominence from a range of institutions.

Questions? Email Karla Nielsen.

——————————-

All sessions take place 6pm in 523 Butler Library, Columbia Morningside Campus, unless otherwise noted.

RBML Exhibition– “Comics at Columbia: Past, Present, Future”

Columbia University Libraries/Information ServicesRare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML) is pleased to announce the exhibition:  Comics at Columbia: Past, Present, Future.  The exhibition opened October 6th and runs through January 23rd, 2015 in the Kempner Gallery at the RBML – 6th Floor East, Butler Library.

 1414096187880

Charles Saxon (’40 CC), Untitled. Charles Saxon Collection, Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

The exhibition presents art, manuscripts, and ephemera from Columbia’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library, including items associated with the university’s history, as well as art from Mad artist Al Jaffee, Elfquest artist Wendy Pini, and New Yorker cartoonist Charles Saxon; drafts and notes from X-Men writer Chris Claremont and Legion of Super Heroes writer Paul Levitz, and correspondence from mainstream and indie comics luminaries Stan Lee, Harvey Kurtzman, and Howard Cruse, and more.

An irreverent comic strip confiscated from undergraduates in 1766 joins political cartoons from Thomas Nast and Rube Goldberg, Jerry Robinson’s early sketches of Dick Grayson and Bruce Wayne, Milt Gross’s contracts with The New York World, and a Joe Shuster Superman sketch, along with work from up-and-coming cartoonists. The exhibition also features works “on the fringes” of comics, such as Rodolphe Töpffer’s The adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck and Lynd Ward’s wordless woodcut novels.

Comics at Columbia is curated by Karen Green, Librarian for Ancient & Medieval History and Graphic Novels Librarian at Columbia University.

“The rather racy 18th-century cartoon, confiscated from undergraduates when Columbia University was still Kings College, is an indication of just how deep the roots of comics reach at this institution,” said Green. “Our recent archives acquisitions join comics materials already embedded in a broad array of collections. This exhibition brings these varied materials to light, and demonstrates the power of the comics medium to inform research into history, social mores, popular culture, and so much more.”

Comics at Columbia showcases the RBML’s support for research, teaching, and learning with comics and graphic novels. Since its beginning in 2005, a growing circulating collection of such graphic novels at the Libraries has inspired scholarly inquiry, as well as academic writing and coursework, including The American Graphic Novel, a course co-taught by Columbia University Professor Jeremy Dauber and former DC Comics president Paul Levitz, and a long-running summer course on comics as literature. The exhibition also highlights a major collecting strength of the RBML, the history of publishing and related archives, with notable recent additions including the archives of Granary Books, the Dalkey Archive Press, Ballantine Books, and the papers of Barney Rosset, founder of Grove Press.

For hours and more information, please visit the RBML website.