Special Collections & Archives Blog

During December 2010...

Archives’ materials featured in new calendar

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 4:07 pm

This past summer (remember when it was hot)? we received a request from a researcher who wanted to see our collection of old football programs, especially the ones from the 40′s, 50′s and 60′s. He said he wanted to make a calendar of some of the covers, and he spent several days looking through and photographing our collection. We thought that was a nice idea, but didn’t realize what a great final product would result! Lo and behold, one day a few weeks ago, I received a box of the new calendars and they look GREAT. We are excited that part of our collection made this publication possible, and we hope that lots of folks will want one for themselves. No, we don’t get any money from the sales of the calendars, but it’s a great tool for showcasing the unique materials that are in the Archives and letting people know that we are here. If you know a Wake alum, current student, or anyone who loves WFU, this would be a great gift for Christmas or any time. Check out this link to get more info and to order one for yourself.

Asgard Press

Findable finding aids!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 3:32 pm

Finding aids for collections from the Department of Special Collections & Archives are now fully search- and browse-able through a new interface!

Check out zsr.wfu.edu/findingaids to see features including:

  • A look and feel like the ZSR website
  • Fully searchable contents, including container lists
  • Browse by keyword and title
  • Collection summary at the top of each finding aid
  • Linked finding aid sections
  • Linked keyword index
  • Expand/collapse container lists
  • Complete box and folder information

Kevin Gilbertson pushed the limits of the traditional finding aid by incorporating his sense of design and prioritizing user needs, creating a new interface for the finding aids on Dspace with XMLUI (the rest of our collections currently use JSPUI). Kevin’s creativity and willingness to understand the priorities of archival description helped him use XML to develop a finding aid interface that is one of a kind.

We invite you to experiment with the search, browse, and container list features. The search box is also featured on the Special Collections & Archives homepage. We are so proud to create greater access to the outstanding archival resources of ZSR!

Restoration of the Clarence Herbert New Scrapbooks

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 9:24 am

Solidifying the spines

We’ve unearthed over 20 scrapbooks from the Clarence Herbert New Collection. These scrapbooks are from trips Mr. New took from 1890-1926 as he vacationed in Maine and around the world. Many of the scrapbooks also have his collections of cartoons, theater programs and newspaper articles he liked. He was very organized and even typed up a Table of Contents for each scrapbook. These scrapbooks are in various states of deterioration as they are 100 years old! I decided to repairs as many as I could. The photo above shows step 1 where I glued-out the text-block to strengthen it. Following this, I created new spines from book-cloth and glued the new spine to the scrapbook.
New "New" spines drying
Any loose items in each scrapbook were placed into archival envelopes.
Loose items placed into envelopes
Once the new spines were dry, I applied Klucel G- a leather consolidant to the covers and the scrapbooks were ready to be used by researchers.
Completed scrapbooks

Rare Book of the Month: The Chimes: A Goblin Story, by Charles Dickens

Wednesday, December 8, 2010 10:07 am

Of the five Christmas books that Charles Dickens published in the 1840s, the first, A Christmas Carol (1843), is by far the most famous. The following year Dickens came out with The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells that Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In.

Although the book sold well in 1844, it suffered the fate of many sequels in that it was criticized for being both similar to and different from its predecessor. In The Chimes Dickens once again takes up the cause of the underprivileged classes’ struggle for survival in a rapidly industrializing society. But The Chimes is a darker book than A Christmas Carol, its social criticisms more pointed and specific and its happy ending less certain.

Dickens’s protagonist is Toby Veck, a “ticket-porter” or messenger-for-hire who plies his trade on the steps of an old church, whose tower houses the Chimes of the title. Toby, his beautiful and virtuous daughter Meg, Meg’s fiance Richard, and Will Fern, an agricultural laborer newly arrived in the city, personify the struggles of the urban poor. On New Year’s Eve they suffer unpleasant encounters with a Member of Parliament, an Alderman, and a rich young gentleman. And Toby is further discouraged by newspaper depictions of the lower classes as inevitably prone to evil. When Toby reads an account (based on a notorious true story) of a desperate young woman who drowned herself and her illegitimate child, he succumbs to cynicism and despair: “None but people who were bad at heart: born bad: who had no business on the earth could do such deeds. It’s too true, all I’ve heard to-day; too just, too full of proof. We’re Bad!”


Toby then hears the Chimes in the church tower calling his name. He finds the bell tower “swarming with dwarf phantoms,spirits, elfin creatures of the Bells.” The Goblin of the Great Bell tells Toby that “Who turns his back upon the fallen and disfigured of his kind; abandons them as Vile; and does not trace and track with pitying eyes the unfenced precipice by which they fell from Good. . . does wrong to Heaven and Man, to Time and to Eternity.”

The Goblin informs Toby that he has died and shows him a vision of his daughter Meg’s unhappy future life. Through a combination of misfortune and malicious interference by the rich and powerful, Meg too is reduced to contemplating suicide with her infant child. Toby then understands that the unfortunate people he reads about in the papers are not bad by nature, but are driven to desperate acts by an uncaring world. The “spirit of the Chimes” has taught him that “we must trust and hope, and neither doubt ourselves, nor doubt the Good in one another.”

Toby then wakes in his own rooms to find Meg and Richard happily planning their wedding for the next day. A crowd of jolly neighbors soon join them to celebrate the new year and the upcoming nuptials, and one of the revelers proves to be a long-lost friend for whom Will Fern was searching.

Dickens leaves his readers with an admonition to “bear in mind the stern realities from which these shadows come; and in your sphere. . . endeavor to correct, improve, and soften them. . . . So may each Year be happier than the last, and not the meanest of our brethren or sisterhood debarred their rightful share, in what our Great Creator formed them to enjoy.”

ZSR Library’s copy of The Chimes is a first edition published by Chapman and Hall in 1844. It was purchased by the library in 1970.


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