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April 17 Book Talk

Gill Michael

Why is the sexuality of people with intellectual disabilities often deemed “risky” or “inappropriate” by teachers, parents, support staff, medical professionals, judges, and the media? Should sexual citizenship depend on IQ? Confronting such questions head-on, Already Doing It exposes the “sexual ableism” that denies the reality of individuals who, despite the restrictions they face, actively make decisions about their sexual lives. A powerfully argued call for sexual and reproductive justice for people with intellectual disabilities, Already Doing It urges a shift away from the compulsion to manage “deviance” (better known today as harm reduction) because the right to pleasure and intellectual disability are not mutually exclusive. In so doing, it represents a vital new contribution to the ongoing debate over who, in the United States, should be allowed to have sex, reproduce, marry, and raise children.

Please join us for a book celebration for Mike Gill, Assistant Professor of Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies, at 4:15p.m. Friday, April 17 in Burling Library Lounge.

Gill will read from his new book Already Doing it: Intellectual Disability and Sexual Agency (University of Minnesota Press 2015) and open the floor for questions.

The event is free and open to the public.  Light refreshments will be served.

Special Collections and Archives Item of the Week

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens was first published in 1849 in London by Bradbury and Evans. Illustrations are by H.K. Browne. This particular copy from our collection is a first edition, first issue.

As with many of Dickens’ works, David Copperfield was originally published in serial parts or installments. It was published between May of 1849 and November of 1850. The serialization of novels was not an invention of the Victorian era, but it certainly reached its peak popularity during this time period. Being able to examine David Copperfield in its serialized form gives students and patrons a view into the reading experience of the Victorians who first read this novel. Also of historical interest are the numerous advertisements present in each installment. A wide variety of products are advertised, ranging from clothing to medicine to books.

Novels were frequently published in installments over a period of time, appearing in newspapers, magazines, or as small, individual pamphlets. Serial installments of books were as eagerly anticipated in their day as the next episode of popular television shows are today. This method of publication was cost effective for many readers because purchasing installments allowed payment to be spread out over a longer time period rather than paying to purchase an entire book outright. Many Victorian authors published works in serial format, among them George Elliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, Thomas Hardy, and Robert Louis Stevenson.

Other serial novels written by Dickens available in the Special Collections and Archives are Bleak House, Little Dorrit, Our Mutual Friend, and the unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood. We encourage anyone with an interest to drop by Special Collections and look at these serial novels in person.

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

Amana and Grinnell: Creating Community on the Iowa Prairie in 1854

In celebration of the 160th anniversary of the establishment of the Amana Colonies in Iowa and the founding of the town of Grinnell, the exhibition “Amana and Grinnell: Creating Community on the Iowa Prairie in 1854” is now on display on the main floor and in Burling Gallery on the lower level. The exhibit aims to explore the shared intentionality, prairie location, and religious motivations of the Congregationalists who founded Grinnell College and settled Grinnell and the Inspirationists who established the Amana Society. Also explored is the differences between the two communities.

Materials displayed in the collection come from the Burling Library Special Collections and Archives, the private collection of Anthropology professor Jon Andelson, and the Amana Heritage Society.

The Amana Society

The Community of True Inspiration, also known as the Amana Society, was a theocratic community that settled in Iowa in 1854. Property was owned communally and all members worked for community owned businesses, such as the woolen mill and flour mill.  Members of the Society rejected ordained clergy, but instead followed church elders and those they called “instruments” who they believed to be divinely inspired.

Iowa College and Grinnell

Iowa College – later renamed Grinnell College – was established in 1846 by eleven Congregational ministers who formed under the name the Iowa Band. The college was originally located in Davenport, Iowa, but at the urging of J.B. Grinnell moved to the new town of Grinnell.

J.B. Grinnell was a Congregationalist minister and capitalist entrepreneur who helped found the town of Grinnell. He hoped to establish a religious and educational community and set about preparing for the formation of an institution of higher learning.

The exhibit was curated by Chris Jones, Allison Haack, and Jon Andelson. Thanks to Jon Andelson and the Amana Heritage Society for their loan of the items featured in the exhibit, and to Diane Lenertz for her graphic design skills.

Online Bibliography for "A Century of War" Guest Speakers

In conjunction with the Humanities Center's "A Century of War" events, the Grinnell College Libraries compiled an online bibliography that provides direct access to the speakers' selected works. 

Featured speakers are: 

  • Joanna Bourke, Professor of History, Birkbeck, University of London; 
  • Anton Kaes, Professor of German and Film & Media, Univertisy of California, Berkeley; 
  • John H. Morrow, Jr., Professor of History, University of Georgia; 
  • Vincent Sherry, Professor of English, Washington University in St. Louis.

What's New, Spring 2015

New Faces

We welcome Allison Haack, who joined us in November as the Library Assistant in Special Collections and Archives. Allison earned her B.A. in History from Simpson College and her Master of Library Science with a specialization in archives and records management from Indiana University-Bloomington. She brings with her experience in academic libraries and archives, and looks forward to learning more about Grinnell and the Special Collections.


We also welcome Meredith Carroll ’16 as our newest research tutor.  Meredith, a history major, has just returned from a semester of study at the Newberry Library.  Students can work with our tutors at Burling’s research desk or online to get an early start on their research projects this semester.   


New Movie Browser Online

With our New Movie Browser Online, you can conveniently browse through our documentary films, feature films, and foreign films. These links can also be found in 3Search; look under "Browse" toward the bottom of the page.


Tea Service in Kistle

We are now serving hot water and tea in the Kistle Science Library. Please bring your own container with a lid to enjoy the new service!


New Database and Online Reference Sets


JSTOR Collection XI

Arts & Sciences XI will expand JSTOR’s coverage in the humanities, with scholarship in core fields of Language & Literature, History, and Art & Art History. Comprising a minimum of 125 titles, the collection will include important journals in Classical Studies, Architecture & Architectural History, and Music. Other discipline clusters will include Bibliography, Library Science, Religion, Philosophy, Archaeology, Performing Arts, Film Studies, and Linguistics. Interdisciplinary titles will broaden the scope of the collection to include area studies such as American studies, Asian studies, Jewish studies, and African American studies.


Green’s Dictionary of Slang

By Jonathan Green

An unprecedented collection of slang words of the English language, the Dictionary covers five centuries of innovation in all English-speaking regions of the world and takes an authoritative, scholarly approach to slang. Over 100,000 words are defined; each word is authenticated by genuine and full-referenced citations of its use.


New Oxford Companion to Literature in French

Edited by Peter France

This work presents an authoritative guide not only to ten centuries of literature produced in the territory now called France, but also to the rich literary output of other French‐speaking countries around the world. It is a new and completely reconceived work, rather than a revision of the 1959 Oxford Companion to French Literature. Written by an international team of specialists, entries cover individual authors and works as well as the latest scholarship on topics such as chivalry, Occupation and Resistance in wartime France, scholasticism, the sciences, literary movements and genres, and many more.


Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages

Edited by Robert E. Bjork

A reference work covering all key aspects of European history, society, and culture from 500 to 1500 CE, as well as the Byzantine Empire, Islamic dynasties, and Asiatic peoples of the era. Over 800 scholars have assembled thousands of comprehensive entries, lavishly supplemented by hundreds of illustrations and dozens of maps. The Dictionary provides coverage of both the whole geographical extent of the European Middle Ages (including Germany and Austria, Spain and Portugal, the Low Countries, and Central and Eastern Europe, among many others), and of numerous major topics, from art and architecture, medicine, and law to archaeology, ecclesiastical history, and languages and literature.


Oxford Encyclopedia of Biblical Interpretation

Edited by Steven L. McKenzie

This work provides detailed, comprehensive treatments of the latest approaches to, and methods for, interpretation of the Bible. Written by expert practitioners, it provides a single source for authoritative reference overviews of the scholarship on some of the most important topics in the field of biblical studies. The Encyclopedia contains entries ranging in length from 3,000 to 5,000 words, each with a bibliography for further reading and cross-referenced to other useful points of interest within the Encyclopedia.


Oxford Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature

Edited by Jack Zipes

Written by an international roster of more than 300 authors, the Encyclopedia comprehensively documents and interprets the books read by children throughout the world. With a global perspective that pays attention to significant international trends and the multicultural expansion of the field, it includes brief biographies of every major author and illustrator. Also included are feature essays on all genres of children's literature, individual works, and prominent trends and themes, as well as general essays on the traditions of children's literature in many countries throughout the world.


St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture

Edited by Thomas Riggs

The St. James Encyclopedia Of Popular Culture, 2nd ed., updates and augments the over ten-year-old first edition. It includes 3,036 signed essays (300 of them new), alphabetically arranged, and written or reviewed by subject experts and edited to form a consistent, readable, and straightforward reference. The entries cover topics and persons in major areas of popular culture: film; music; print culture; social life; sports; television and radio; and art and performance (which include theater, dance, stand-up comedy, and other live performance). The entries analyze each topic or person's significance in and relevance to American popular culture; in addition to basic factual information, readers will gain perspective on the cultural context in which the topic or person has importance.


To access these databases and reference sets, please visit the Libraries’ "Databases A-Z" list.

Online Bibliography for Chicago Symposium Guest Speakers

In conjunction with the February 3-5 Symposium "Chicago: Urban Issues and Social Justice in the Windy City," sponsored by the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights, the Grinnell College Libraries compiled an online bibliography that provides direct access to the speakers' selected works. 

Featured speakers are: 

  • Christine J. Walley, Author and Associate Professor of Anthropology, MIT; 
  • Kari Lydersen, Chicago Journalist and Author; 
  • Virginia Parks, Associate Professor, School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago; 
  • Barbara Ransby, Professor of History, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration On-line Bibliography

In conjunction with the College’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration, the Grinnell College Libraries compiled an on-line bibliography (https://libweb.grinnell.edu/sp/subjects/guide.php?subject=MLK) featuring selected works of guest speakers Patricia Williams, James L. Dohr Professor of Law at Columbia University, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, national correspondent for The Atlantic.

Letters Home

"Letters Home" exhibition, Oct. 1, 2014 to Feb. 28, 2015, Burling Library 

As part of the Center for the Humanities theme “A Century of War: 1914 and Beyond,” the Burling Library exhibition "Letters Home " is on display on the main floor and in Burling Gallery on the lower level. Drawn from Grinnell College’s James Norman Hall Collection and Jimmy Ley Collection, this exhibition offers us an opportunity to see the wars through the eyes of two young Grinnellians as they wrote to friends and family at home.

James Norman Hall 1910 grew up in Colfax, Iowa, and graduated from Grinnell College in 1910.  In the summer of 1914, he traveled to England hoping to pursue his dream of being a writer. When Britain declared war on Germany in August of 1914, Hall enlisted in the 9th Royal Fusiliers, where he was trained as a machine gunner and served in Kitchener’s Army until his discharge in December of 1915. Later, he was sent to France to write about the Escadrille Lafayette, a group of volunteer American airmen serving with the French and decided to join the Lafayette Flying Corps and trained as a pursuit pilot. For his war service, Hall was awarded the Croix de Guerre, five Palms, the Medaille Militaire, the Legion d’Honneur, and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Hall lived to have a remarkable career as an author.  He published several works about his war experience including Kitchener’s Mob, Flying with Chaucer, and a history of the Lafayette Flying Corps that he co-wrote with Charles Nordhoff. The two men went on to write other works, including Mutiny on the Bounty, Men Against the Sea, and Pitcairn’s Island.  Hall’s autobiography, My Island Home, recalls his life in Colfax, his years at Grinnell, and his war experiences. He died in Tahiti in 1951.

Jimmy Ley ’44 grew up in Lakota, Iowa.  He attended Grinnell College from 1940-1942, when he volunteered for the Army Air Force and sent eventually deployed to England as a flight engineer.  On his twenty-fifth combat mission, the final one before he was due to return home, Jimmy Ley and his crew were shot down over the English Channel. For many years, he was listed as missing in action. Finally in 1949, Jimmy Ley’s body was found in a small cemetery in Groffliers, France, and returned to his family for burial. Jimmy Ley was highly decorated for his bravery during the war, and was awarded with the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three Oak Clusters, and the Purple Heart.

Diane Lenertz ’15 who curated this exhibition, says that by diving into the first-hand accounts of two Grinnell men who fought in World War I and II, she was able to gain a better personal understanding of how war impacts individual lives.

Special Collections and Archives houses the complete James Norman Hall Collection and Jimmy Ley Collection. 

We are grateful to Nancy Hall Rutgers and the late Conrad Hall for the donation of their father’s papers and to Jimmy Ley’s family, who recently donated this collection to the College.  

Winter at Grinnell

"Winter at Grinnell" exhibition, Dec. 1, 2014 to Feb. 28, 2014, Burling Library, Special Collections and Archives

The exhibit Winter at Grinnell is now on display in the Special Collection and Archives reading room. The display highlights winter activities that have occurred on the Grinnell campus from the 1950s to the 1970s, such as the Boar’s Head Dinner, Winter Carnival, skating on Barber Plaza, and the Christmas formal. The materials on display are drawn from a number of collections including files about student activities, campus buildings, and yearbooks.

Winter at Grinnell was researched and designed by Special Collections students Olivia Caro ‘17 and Hannah Condon ’16. The students had the opportunity to be involved in every stage of the project, from brainstorming display topics, to selecting materials to be used, to determining how to stage the display case. Through their work, the students learned about several traditions from Grinnell’s past, as well as how to conceive of and design a display. Caro and Condon are fairly new to Special Collections, having started work at the beginning of the fall semester, so this particular project was an excellent opportunity for them to put to use what they’ve learned in the past few months.

Special Collections and Archives is located in the lower level of Burling Library and is open 1:30-5:00pm, Monday through Friday.

Libraries Study Breaks Fall 2014

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

Study breaks are at 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 15 and Tuesday, Dec. 16 in the Burling Library Lounge. Con Brio will sing on Monday and the Ritalin Test Squad will perform on Tuesday.

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.