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Request a Faculty Study for Fall 2015 (or later)

Eight small studies on the basement level of Burling Library are available to Grinnell College faculty for assignment on a one-semester, two-semester, or summer basis. Needs for which these studies are an appropriate form of faculty support include substantial research projects that require heavy use of the library's collections or a place, free from interruption, in which to write. The studies are not intended to serve as supplementary faculty offices. Requests should be submitted by the Faculty Study Request Form by August 15 (for fall semester), December 15 (for spring semester), and May 1 (for summer).

Please direct questions to Richard Fyffe, Librarian of the College.

Mutiny on the Bounty

Published in 1932, Mutiny on the Bounty was written by James Norman Hall ’10 and Charles Nordhoff. The book is the first in a trilogy; the subsequent novels are Men Against the Sea and Pitcairn’s Island. The papers of James Norman Hall were generously donated to Special Collections and Archives by Hall’s daughter and son-in-law, Nancy Hall Rutgers and Nick Rutgers. Among our extensive James Norman Hall Papers are various drafts of Hall’s novels, including the manuscript of the first draft of Mutiny on the Bounty. Examining earlier drafts against the finished text allows readers to view a portion of the editing process and how the author crafted the story. This in turn leads to a deeper understanding of the novel and insight into the author’s writing process.

The first draft of Mutiny on the Bounty was written on a typewriter and contains extensive handwritten notes and edits by both James Norman Hall and Charles Nordhoff. One of the first differences that readers notice is that the first chapter was originally titled “The Sea-Law of Oléren.” The title in the completed book is “Lieutenant Bligh.” Although the first two paragraphs of the draft have been crossed out, there is a note in the margin that reads “all in.” The first two paragraphs of the original draft remain the first paragraphs of the finished work.

In numerous places, word choices and sentences were edited to alter meaning or provide clarity. However, in other places, entire sentences and paragraphs have been crossed out. In one of the largest changes, the original fourth and fifth chapters were consolidated into a single chapter. Anyone who is a fan of Mutiny on the Bounty or simply enjoys learning about the writing process will find plenty to explore in this first draft manuscript.

We encourage anyone with an interest in Mutiny on the Bounty or in James Norman Hall to drop by Special Collections and look at the James Norman Hall Papers. Special Collections and Archives is open to the public 1:30-5:00pm Monday through Friday and mornings by appointment.

Pardon Our Dust

This summer, as a result of patron feedback and ever-growing audiences at library events, Burling Library will be undergoing a partial renovation. Most of the work will be done in the Burling Lounge area, where events are usually held. Two rows of periodical shelving are being removed in order to increase the Lounge area by 50%, making room for larger audiences during events. This move has been possible due to the fact that more and more of our journal subscriptions are shifting to an online-only format. The Lounge will also be receiving new furniture, which will include tables and newspaper racks.  Four new ottomans have already arrived and are proving to be useful. 

Along with the new physical layout of the Lounge area, we will be introducing some new technology in the form of a loop service. This loop will be installed under the carpet and will transmit sounds broadcast through a PA system directly to hearing aids. This new system will greatly improve accessibility to those of our patrons with hearing-assistive devices.

On the east side of the first floor of Burling, near the Peer Mentoring spaces, a new laptop bar has been installed. This will allow patrons using laptops the option of standing to use their laptop or tablet devices.

While these projects are going on, Burling will continue to operate during its normal posted hours. If you have any questions regarding these or other projects, or if you are have questions about finding resources while these projects are going on, please ask at the circulation desk.

“Don`t Let That Shadow Touch Them”

War BondsLawrence Beall Smith, an artist known for his lithographs of children, created the poster titled “Don`t Let That Shadow Touch Them.” It was printed in 1942 for the Government Printing Office for the U.S. Treasury NARA Still Picture Branch. This poster is part of the S. Eugene Thompson ’58 Papers housed in Special Collections and Archives.

The term propaganda was first commonly used in Europe, after Pope Gregory XV created the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith in Rome in 1622. However, it was not until the 1790s that the term was used to refer to secular activities as well. Propaganda posters became a very popular means of influencing public opinion during wartime, and were especially prevalent during the two World Wars.

During World War II, the United States Government printed posters such as this one as a means of encouraging and persuading the public to support the war. The posters advocated for everything from buying war bonds and enlisting, to promoting efficiency in factories, carpooling, and planting victory gardens. Unlike many of the European posters that depicted the ugly enemy, the U.S. posters tended to focus on patriotism to in order to garner support.

This particular poster portraying three children standing in the shadow of a swastika was modeled on a Canadian poster of a mother and child, which also advocated for the purchase of war bonds with the purpose of keeping children safe. The U.S. Government conducted a study of commercial posters, which included the Canadian one, and found that images of women and children were most effective in eliciting an emotional response from viewers. Public relations specialists advised the U.S. Government that emotional responses were much more successful in ensuring that posters had an impact on the opinions of the viewer.

We encourage anyone with an interest in seeing how powerful propaganda images can be to stop by Special Collections to learn about Grinnell College’s role in World War II. Special Collections and Archives is open to the public 1:30-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and mornings by appointment.

Burling Participates in a Public Art Installation Project

As part of “Public Writing, Public Libraries,” a project of Grin City Collective Artist & Writers Residency, poetry written by Purvi Shah will be installed in vinyl film directly onto Burling Library’s front windows on May 11. The winner of the SONY South Asian Social Service Excellence Award, Purvi is a poet and essayist from Brooklyn, NY and is one of the four writers—Pauliina Haasjoki (Helsinki, Finland), Kevin Haworth (Athens, OH), and Molly Rideout (Grinnell, IA)—who are attending Grin City Collective Artist & Writers Residency. Their brand-new public art—works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry—will be installed in the windows of 12 Iowa libraries, including Burling Library. Other participating libraries include Knoxville, Pella, Newton, Marshalltown, Tama, Toledo, Cedar Falls, Waterloo, Coralville, Cedar Rapids Public Libraries, and North Liberty Community Library.

Purvi will meet with Grinnell faculty, staff, and students before composing  poems for Grinnell College so her poetry can speak directly to the campus community. “I value creativity through engagement, and poetry's accessibility is very important to me as someone who immigrated to America from India as a child,” Purvi says.

After the installation is completed, Purvi will  read from her work and talk about her career and writing process at 9 p.m. on Monday, May 11. This event will be the first night of the Libraries’ two-day study breaks, and homemade cookies and milk—a study break tradition—will be served.

“Public Writing, Public Libraries” is made possible thanks to the generous support of Grinnell College’s Office of Community Enhancement and Engagement, Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation, ACT Inc., Vermeer Corporation, Friends of the Cedar Falls Public Library, Friends of the Waterloo Public Library, Friends of the Newton Public Library, The Arts Connection Inc. and Coralville Public Library. Design and printing costs for the final publication are sponsored by Grinnell College.

To learn more or to support this project, please visit http://www.grincitycollective.org.

Libraries’ Study Breaks Spring 2015

Please join us for a quick break from studying with poetry reading and student performers along with homemade cookies and milk.

Study breaks are at 9 p.m. Monday, May 11 and Tuesday, May 12 in the Burling Library Lounge. 

Poet Purvi Shah

The first night, May 11,  will be a poetry reading with Purvi Shah, who composed a poetry about Grinnell College.

Prior to the reading, Purvi’s poetry will be installed in vinyl film directly onto Burling Library’s front windows on May 11 as part of “Public Writing, Public Libraries,” a project of Grin City Collective Artist & Writers Residency. 

Ritalin Test SquadRitalin Test Squad, a student improv group, will join us for the second night, May 12.

Both events are open to the public. Cookies will be delivered to the Kistle Science Library, as well.

This event is co-sponsored by the Libraries Student Educational Policy Committee (SEPC), the Student Government Association, and the Libraries.

Scroll and Quill Used By the American College Quill Club

Quill Club scroll and quillThis scroll and quill were items used by the American College Quill Club at Grinnell College.  The American College Quill Club was a student organization established at colleges across the country in order to promote writing and literature.

Although not a Literary Society like the ones which existed on campuses in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the club was influenced by these earlier organizations.  However, rather than drawing from Greek culture as Literary Societies had done, the Quill Club drew inspiration from Anglo-Saxon culture and literature.  This is demonstrated by the use of the scroll and quill, and most obviously by the college chapter names. Each individual club was designated with an Old English word followed by the word Rune. Grinnell’s club name was Sigel Rune. Sigel is the Old English word for sun.

One hundred and thirty one names in total are listed on the membership scroll. By signing the scroll, students agreed to abide by the constitution and by-laws of the American College Quill Club and the regulations of Sigel Rune. Membership was determined on merit and the submission of an original piece of writing.  To remain an active member, students had to continue to regularly submit writing.  The club was also required to have active faculty members participate.  

Unfortunately, it is unclear what years the Quill Club was active on Grinnell’s campus. If you have any information about this student organization, or were a member, we’d love to hear from you! Contact us at archives[at]grinnell[dot]edu.

We encourage anyone with an interest in Literary Societies and other student organizations to drop by Special Collections and look at our holdings.  Special Collections and Archives is open to the public 1:30-5:00pm Monday through Friday and mornings by appointment.

Siam's Twins and Early Asian America

Joe Orser portraitAuthor Joe Orser will present a free public talk on “Siam’s Twins and Early Asian America” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Burling Library Lounge.

Orser will explore Chang and Eng Bunker, conjoined twins who toured as a curiosity throughout the world from the 1820s to the 1890s, settling in North Carolina.

Orser teaches history at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and is the author of The Lives of Chang and Eng: Siam's Twins in Nineteenth-Century America.

Orser’s talk is part of The Asian American Association’s celebration of Asian Pacific Islander American Awareness Week, Sunday, April 26 – Saturday, May 2.





Special Collections and Archives Item of the Week

A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe was published in 1722 in London.  A fictionalized, first-person account of the year 1665, it chronicles life in London during the Great Plague. Defoe was a novelist, pamphleteer, and journalist, and is best known for his novels Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders.

Defoe’s work is notable for many scholarly reasons, but what makes individual copies of notice to students and patrons interested in book history is the provenance associated with each particular book. Another source of academic interest is the information about Defoe placed inside the book and its accompanying slipcase and what that might suggest about a previous owner and their use of the book.

The term provenance refers to origin or chain or ownership, and is how archivists and special collections librarians keep track of the people or institutions who owned the materials now in their collection. Bookplates are a common way of identifying previous ownership.  Grinnell’s copy of A Journal of the Plague Year three bookplates in addition to one small plate of a bookseller.  Also common is owners writing their names on the inside covers or on the title page. This particular book has two signatures from previous owners.

Pasted to the original pages of the inside cover and first blank page, as well as on the inside of the accompanying slipcase, are clippings of bookseller descriptions of A Journal of the Plague Year and about Defoe as an author.  Two clippings are dated 1920 and 1965, while the remaining two are undated.  The clippings inside the slipcase describe two different copies of A Journal of the Plague Year, one a first edition and the other a second addition.  Differences in print year, condition, and price are noted.  When the bookseller plate is taken into account, it seems likely that the owner was noting which copy he had purchased – the first edition – from which bookseller, and why. Based on the additional bookplates and signatures, other inferences can be made about the chain of custody and how this book came to be at Grinnell College, but we’ll let you discover them for yourself!

We encourage anyone with an interest to drop by Special Collections and look at this fascinating book in person.  Special Collections and Archives is open to the public 1:30-5:00pm Monday through Friday and mornings by appointment.


Special Collections and Archives Item of the Week

Think back to the first time you experienced the Internet and realized that vast quantities of information were now at your fingertips. This same sensation was felt by our ancestors who first experienced photography. The invention of stereoscopes allowed for an entirely new experience: photographs with dimension. A stereoscope is device that allows a user to see a 3-D image through a lens viewer. They no longer had to rely on illustrations and paintings, but could view still images that precisely captured a scene.

Stereoscopes were a largely Victorian middle class form of entertainment. Unlike wealthy members of the upper classes who could afford to travel abroad, the middle relied on photographs and descriptions in books to learn about the wider world. The images on stereo cards captivated people, giving them a glimpse of far away and exotic places they had only heard or read about. The use of stereoscopes declined with the increasing popularization of motion pictures. Using these stereoscopes allows students and patrons to better comprehend its importance as a means of entertainment.

Stereoscopes were highly popular from the mid-1800s up through the 1930s. Although it was not the first created, the Brewster stereoscope was the first handheld stereoscope. The inclusion of the devices at The Great Exhibition in 1851 raised their popularity and created a demand for more 3-D images. The most well-known variation was created by noted poet, author, and lecturer Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1861.

The images viewed in stereoscopes were hugely entertaining because people had never seen photography with so much depth as to give the illusion of dimension. In an 1859 article, Holmes wrote of the stereoscope: “The first effect of looking at a good photograph through the stereoscope is a surprise such as no painting ever produced. The mind feels its way into the very depths of the picture…Then there is such a frightful amount of detail, that we have the same sense of infinite complexity which Nature gives us.”

Stereoscopes work by placing two photographs side by side on a card, which is then placed on the end of a sliding mount.  The sliding aspect means that the image can be brought closer or farther away from the face. The 3-D effect of the images comes from the fact that two photographs are not identical, but rather taken from very slightly different angles. When the photographs are seen through the viewer, the left and right eye images come together to give the effect of one three dimensional image.  The name comes from the stereo cards used.

We encourage anyone with an interest to drop by Special Collections and put themselves in the shoes of the people who first experienced three dimensional images by using these entertainment devices from the past. The models available in the Special Collections and Archives are Holmes Stereoscopes.

Special Collections and Archives is open to the public 1:30-5:00pm Monday through Friday and mornings by appointment.