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.”
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.
Chang Octagon Gallery | 7 March – 12 July 2019
Tbilisi, Ilia Zdanevich’s hometown, became a haven for artists of all stripes during the Russian Civil War. In this multi-lingual environment where feuds among artistic schools had been suspended, Zdanevich worked out the principles of “mature” zaum and a corresponding approach to book design.
This exhibition, curated by Thomas J. Kitson, begins before the First World War with Zdanevich’s apprenticeship as a propagandist for the Larionov group in competition with Futurist rivals and proceeds through masterworks he designed and typeset as a founding member of 41°.
We include a selection of works by his brother and collaborator, Kirill, and a display of interconnected items associated with other poets, composers, and visual artists who frequented the Fantastic Tavern, center of Tbilisi artistic life between 1917 and 1920.
The exhibition is part of “Displacement and Display: The Ongoing Revolutions of Ilia Zdanevich,” a Global Humanities project led by Professor Valentina Izmirlieva (Slavic Department) and sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Humanities at Columbia University.
The exhibition is co-sponsored by the Bakhmeteff Archive of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the Global Studies unit of Columbia University Libraries
We’re pleased to announce an opening here in Columbia University Libraries’ Rare Book & Manuscript Library for a new Curator of Literature.
The ideal candidate is an accomplished and creative professional with an MLIS or PhD in English, American Literature or related fields.
Primarily, the Curator develops, manages and actively promotes the use of RBML literature collections through programmatic outreach, awareness, public programs and instructional activities.
The Curator is responsible for developing holdings in literature in all formats (e.g., print and archives) through purchase and donation.
Key to the Curator position are archival and/or librarianship skills related to stewarding literature collections that are in place, prioritizing their organization, description, conservation, digitization, and security.
Though very broad in scope, RBML’s Literature collections concentrate around the history of publishing, “obscene” or erotic literature, poetry between the World Wars, the European realist novel, the Beats, African-American literature of the twentieth century, and contemporary poetry, as well as eighteenth-century belles lettres, the novel, fine press and artist books, and twentieth-century small press production.
Columbia University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and strongly encourages individuals of all backgrounds and cultures to consider this position.
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
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
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’
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. ”
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.
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
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 Watchman. On 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.Lee 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.Annie 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.