Special Collections & Archives Blog

During October 2010...

Theater Actor Prints & Photographs Now Online!

Friday, October 29, 2010 7:57 am

Doris Keane in

We are proud to announce the Theater Actor Prints and Photographs Collection, representing early stage and film actors and actresses, performers, directors, and royalty from the 1880s through the 1930s. The collection includes engravings, etchings, prints, cabinet photographs, cartes de visite, and other photographic materials from England and the United States. The collection includes actors such as H.B. Irving, Fanny Davenport, Lillian Russell, and John Drew.

Images are from the Harold Seton Collection (MS578), the Harold Tedford Collection (MS580), the G. Sykes Collection (MS579), the Clarence Herbert New Papers (MS577), and the library’s collection of theater actor prints (MS581).

This collaborative project is the result of many contributors, including Rebecca Petersen, Craig Fansler, Megan Mulder, Barry Davis, Erik Mitchell, myself, and others.

Tuition in 1872

Wednesday, October 27, 2010 3:17 pm

While re-housing the William Gaston Simmons Papers, one of our students discovered this small piece of Wake Forest’s past:

This receipt from Simmons, the former Bursar, notes payment for tuition, room rent, and servant hire for Spring Term, 1872. Total cost: $3.00.

Need or Greed?

Friday, October 22, 2010 12:14 pm

Take a look at this vibrant poster, circa 1975, from the Energy Strategy Committee of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina –

The artwork and its source committee were likely created as a result of the 1973 oil crisis. Take a look at the gas-guzzling hot rod and the look on the face of the full-service pump attendant!

This and much more can be found in the North Carolina Baptist Historical Collection at Z. Smith Reynolds Library.

The Things We Find in Our Trunks!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010 4:08 pm

I unfolded one of the Hoffman posters this afternoon-wow! It was in 4 parts and takes up my entire office floor! This will be a preservation feat!

Gertrude Hoffman (1880-1955) was a well known dancer and choreographer, who was actually arrested for indecency in 1909 after dancing Salome in New York City. She danced on Broadway and in a variety of Vaudeville shows. Hoffman later developed her own troupe called The Hoffman Girls.

Gertrude Hoffman poster

Encapsulating Baptist Youth Convention photos

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 4:53 pm

Baptist Youth Convention Panoramic Photos

The ever flexible and trustworthy Brittany Newberry has been encapsulating photos. This is a process of sandwiching an flat item between two pieces of mylar. This allows patrons to see these images and not damage them or get them dirty. These Baptist Youth Convention photos are all from the 1920′s and 1930′s and were taken in North Carolina. Audra Yun dug them up from the inexhaustible treasure trove of Special Collections!

Baptist Youth Convention Panoramic Photos

Rare Book of the Month: Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, by Mary Shelley

Friday, October 8, 2010 3:53 pm

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. London: Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones, 1818.

“I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body. For this I had deprived myself of rest and health. I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.”

Mary Shelley‘s tale of the chemist Victor Frankenstein and his nameless creature is considered by many to be the first science fiction novel. The story of the brilliant but overreaching Frankenstein and his misunderstood monster has fascinated readers and critics for nearly 200 years.

The origin of Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is one of the more famous stories in English literature. The 18-year-old Mary had fled to the continent with her married lover, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. They spent the summer of 1816 near Geneva, where they met the already infamous Lord Byron and his personal physician and traveling companion John William Polidori. The friends had been reading “some volumes of ghost stories, translated from the German and French” and discussing recent experiments by Erasmus Darwin and others with galvanism-the reanimation of dead tissue by electrical current-when one rainy night Byron challenged them each to come up with a ghost story. Mary was the only one to complete her story, the first version of Frankenstein.

As Mary later described it, the story came to her in a vivid waking dream:

“I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion. Frightful it must be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.”

In the preface to the 1831 edition, Mary claimed that she intended her story to be “but of a few pages… a short tale.” But Percy Shelley encouraged her to develop Frankenstein into a full-length novel and seek publication. The manuscript, completed in 1817, was first rejected by Byron’s publisher John Murray, but eventually published on January 1, 1818 by the smaller firm of Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor & Jones.

The first edition was issued in three volumes, a form that was becoming the standard for 19th century novels. Mary dedicated the book to her estranged father, the radical philosopher William Godwin.

Mary Shelley’s “hideous progeny” was immediately popular with the reading public. Imitations and dramatic adaptations appeared within a few years of the first edition.

Critical reviews were mixed. The first edition was published anonymously, which led to much speculation about the author’s identity. Even after Mary’s name appeared on the title pages of later editions some readers refused to believe that the book had been written by a young woman. Various critics have argued that Percy Shelley edited the published version of Frankenstein so substantially that he should be considered the true author. But recent studies of the earliest manuscripts, now in possession of the Bodleian Library, vindicate Mary’s assertion that “I certainly did not owe the suggestion of one incident, nor scarcely of one train of feeling, to my husband.”

A second edition of Frankenstein was published in 1831, after the death of Percy Shelley. The 1831 text was considerably altered by Mary Shelley, and until recently it was the most frequently read and reprinted version of the novel.

Wake Forest’s first edition of Frankenstein is part of the Charles H. Babcock collection.

Archival Boxes – we’re crankin’ em out!

Friday, October 8, 2010 8:22 am

Archival Boxes

Brittany Newberry has really taken to making archival boxes. This is a stack of boxes awaiting cataloging that Brittany has made in the past few weeks. These boxes protect fragile materials while making them available to patrons.

Wake Forest founder, Samuel Wait’s traveling chest and walking stick

Thursday, October 7, 2010 1:40 pm

Samuel Wait's traveling chest and walking stick

Wake Forest founder, Samuel Wait’s wood and leather traveling chest and his wooden walking stick-just a small part of the ZSR Library, Special Collections and Archives.

Special Collections Cabinet of Curiosities

Thursday, October 7, 2010 12:09 pm

IMG_2049
Special Collections Cabinet of Curiosities

We have a new exhibit! We’ve all collaborated together to move the exhibit cabinet from the Archives Reading Room to the area across from Circulation. I’ve placed a sign in it saying it is our “Cabinet of Curiosities.” This will be a great location to highlight aspects of our collections and draw students and faculty into our “special collections.”

Politics and 20th Century Art-Vorticism: New Perspectives Symposium

Friday, October 1, 2010 9:27 am

Politics and 20th Century Art Symposium

On October 19, there will be a symposium in the Special Collections Reading Room called “Vorticism: New Perspectives.” Speakers from Wake Forest and Duke will speak about this art movement.
Mark Antliff, Duke
John Curley and Morna O’Neill, WFU Art Department
Scott Klein, WFU English Deptartment

The symposium will be held from 4:30-6 pm.


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