Special Collections & Archives Blog

In the 'Exhibits' Category...

A Token of My Affection: 19th Century Christmas Annuals

Tuesday, December 9, 2014 2:19 pm

christmas annuals token 1839 presentation page

Presentation page from the 1839 edition of The Token: A Christmas and New Years Present

If you were a holiday shopper in the 1830s, one item on your list might well have been an annual gift book—an anthology of illustrations, poems, stories, and essays, in an affordable but decorative binding.

Several examples of 19th century holiday gift books are now on exhibit in the ZSR Library Special Collections & Archives Research Room (ZSR 629). A Token of My Affection: 19th Century Christmas Annuals will remain on view through January.

christmas annuals keepsake 1832 mary shelley

Added engraved title page from The Keepsake (London) for 1832. From ZSR Library Special Collections & Archives.

christmas annuals garland 1831

Color lithograph title page from The Garland, or Token of Friendship (Boston) for 1851. From ZSR Library Special Collections & Archives.

Gift annuals became popular in the early 19th century, as mechanization of the printing and binding processes began to make books in general more affordable.

Publishers appealed to gift-buyers by packaging their books in decorated paper, silk, or leather bindings.

christmas annuals token with box

This copy of The Token for 1828 was bound in green printed paper over boards and issued in a protective cardboard slipcase. From ZSR Library Special Collections & Archives.

christmas annuals1848 cover

Leather binding on an 1848 Leaflets of Memory annual (Philadelphia). From ZSR Library Special Collections & Archives.

ZSR Special Collections holds a complete run of one of the most popular American annuals, The Token: A Christmas and New Years Present. Published in Boston, it was produced by Samuel Griswold Goodrich, a prolific author and publisher better known by his pseudonym, Peter Parley.

christmas annuals tokens spines

Samuel Goodrich’s The Token: A Christmas and New Years Present, 1836 and 1840 issues. From ZSR Library Special Collections & Archives.

The Token, and its competitors in England and America, sought to appeal to both gift-buyers and young readers. Most of the early 19th century annuals are eclectic anthologies that strike a balance between educational and morally uplifting content intended to satisfy parents and other elders, and sentimental or mildly sensational stories that would keep the recipients entertained—and asking for next year’s volume.

poe purloined letter

Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Purloined Letter” was first published in The Gift for 1845, a Philadelphia annual. From ZSR Library Special Collections & Archives.

The contents often included original contributions from authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mary Shelley, and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

christmas annuals mary shelley

“The Dream,” which appeared in The Keepsake for 1832, was one of many short stories that Mary Shelley wrote for gift annuals. From ZSR Library Special Collections & Archives.

The heyday of the holiday annual anthology was the 1820s-1840s. The genre persisted throughout the 19th century, but later annuals had to compete with other types of gift books and with a flood of non-holiday-specific publications timed for the Christmas market.

mrs lirriper 1863

Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol (1843) is of course his most famous holiday story. But Dickens published many other Christmas books, including an annual special issue of his magazine All the Year Round. From ZSR Library Special Collections & Archives.

beetons fortunate island

This 1880 annual from London publisher Samuel Orchart Beeton featured contributions from Max Adeler and others. The 1887 Beeton’s Annual would become famous for introducing Sherlock Holmes in “A Study in Scarlet.” From ZSR Library Special Collections & Archives.

Some gift annuals were published by religious, social, or philanthropic organizations. These served the dual purpose of raising funds for the organizations and for spreading their messages.

christmas annuals temperance

The Sons of Temperance of North America published the National Temperance Offering as an annual gift book. This issue, in typical mid-century decorated cloth, is from 1851. From the ZSR Library Special Collections & Archives.

Illustrations were an important part of the gift book package. Early in the 19th century, the new technique of steel engraving allowed for a high level of detail even in small illustrations. In the 1840s, the invention of color lithography made it possible for the first time to mass produce color illustrations.

christmas annuals1848 lithograph title page

Color lithograph illustration from Leaflets of Memory: An Illuminated Annual (Philadelphia, 1848). From ZSR Library Special Collections & Archives.

christmas annuals pears ad

Advertisers also took advantage of the new technique for printing in color. This ad for Pears soap, which doubles as a “test for colour blindness,” appeared in the 1848 Leaflets of Memory. From ZSR Library Special Collections & Archives.

Few of the holiday gift books in ZSR Special Collections are in pristine condition. Most have been well-read, and many bear traces of their original owners.

christmas annuals bookmarks

Bookmarks found in 19th century gift annuals from the ZSR Library Special Collections. One is crocheted lace, the other is made from human hair.

christmas annuals token inscription mary davis

Mary W. Davis of Newton, Mass. used the endpapers of her copy of The Token for 1830 to show off her considerable skill with a pen. From ZSR Library Special Collections & Archives.

girls own annual crayoned illustration

A reader of The Girl’s Own Annual (London, 1888) applied her crayons to many of the volume’s engraved illustrations. From ZSR Library Special Collections & Archives.

Those of us with reading material of any kind on our holiday wish lists can’t help but feel a kinship with our fellow book enthusiasts from the 19th century and their quirky, charming, and well-thumbed gifts!

For more information about the exhibit, contact Special Collections & Archives.

30 Years of Performing Arts: The Secrest Artists Series at Wake Forest University, 1983–2013

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 2:35 pm

The following is a guest post by Corrine Luthy, a graduate intern with Wake Forest University’s Special Collections & Archives.

2006-2007 Season Mailing

2006–2007 Season Mailing

During the week of the first Secrest Artists Series event of the 2014–2015 season, Special Collections & Archives is pleased to announced the online exhibit 30 Years of Performing Arts: The Secrest Artists Series at Wake Forest Univeristy, 1983–2013.

Explore the exhibit ›

This exhibit aims to capture the spirit of the Secrest Artists Series mission from 1983 to 2013, showcasing not only the talent that has graced the campus, but also the dedication of many different university departments that collaborate to make Secrest performances multifaceted affairs. The Secrest Artists Series has been a mainstay in the cultural education of Wake Forest University students for decades. Its mission has been to bring premier established and up-and-coming performing artists to the university and to expand their involvement beyond the performance events. Artists guide master classes, lectures, and participate in the larger Wake Forest and Winston-Salem communities.

Included in the exhibit are items of visual interest such as event programs, articles from student newspaper the Old Gold & Black, invitations to artist receptions, mailed season schedules, and pocket schedules that illustrate the graphic themes for each season. These represent just a small selection of items from the Secrest Artists Series collection—the working files of Lillian Shelton, whose career with the Secrest Artists Series spanned nearly the entire 30 years. Shelton retired as the director of the series in 2013, and the files are now housed in ZSR’s Special Collections & Archives.

On a personal note, as the curator of the online exhibit my goal was to tell the Secrest “story” as succinctly as possible. When I began the process of selecting items to include in the digital exhibit, I was so concerned with telling the whole story that I had trouble narrowing down what items to include; I listed just about every item I feasibly could in each of the first few folders. But as I continued to work my way folder by folder through the collection, I realized that certain items summarized the mission and vision of the Secrest Artists Series quite nicely on their own.

Although it was still difficult at times not to include everything, I had the advantage of seeing, for example, how the programs for each performance were reflections of the artists and the series itself. They provide photographs, biographical information, and the performance’s context within the Secrest Series. In many cases, as with the Philadelphia Dance Company, programs have an additional element of interest by being signed by the artists.

2002 Philadanco Signed Event Program

2002 Philadanco Signed Event Program

I also saw how the artists’ reach in the university and Winston-Salem communities often extended beyond just their performances. Other events include masterclasses, lectures, fundraising efforts, and artists lunches and receptions, like one following the 1993 performance of the Moscow Virtuosi.

1993 Moscow Virtuosi Reception Invitation (1 of 2)

1993 Moscow Virtuosi Reception Invitation (1 of 2)

1993 Moscow Virtuosi Reception Invitation (2 of 2)

1993 Moscow Virtuosi Reception Invitation (2 of 2)

I was also intrigued by the care taken to ensure the visual elements of each season were incorporated across different printed items. Often, these were a reflection of the WFU Communications and External Relations team’s graphic design, as with this mailing from the 2002–2003 season announcing the upcoming year’s schedule to Secrest supporters.

2002–2003 Season Mailing

2002–2003 Season Mailing

Each season has its own graphic theme, like this fuchsia spread from the 1989–1990 season mailing.

1989–1990 Season Mailing

1989–1990 Season Mailing

I encourage you to explore the online exhibit 30 Years of Performing Arts to learn or reminisce about the past 30 years of the Secrest Artists Series, particularly the vast amount of information and graphic arts work that goes into preparing for a performance season. Included in the exhibit are programs, season mailings and schedules, promotional fliers, and other visually interesting items. I hope you enjoy this digital representation of a pillar of the university’s culture!

Worth a Thousand Words: Ken Bennett’s Photographs of ZSR

Friday, August 1, 2014 11:20 am

Ken Bennett Exhibit POster

Special Collections & Archives is honored to host a selection of photography from University Photographer Ken Bennett. The exhibit will be up in the Special Collections & Archives Research Room (ZSR 625) through December 31st.

Artist’s Statement:

The photographs in this exhibit all have a common theme: they include the Z. Smith Reynolds library in some way, either as the subject, the location, or the background.

On one level, I make these photographs simply as part of my job as the university staff photographer. But it goes beyond that on a personal level: the ZSR library inspires me in the way that few other places do. Rising above the campus, the cupola is a recognizable symbol of Wake Forest, visible from many locations in Winston-Salem, and it makes an excellent subject as well as a background for portraits. The interior spaces of the library, bustling with student activity, are a wonderful place to find those small, intimate moments that make candid people photography so compelling. The ZSR library is a primary center of academic and student life on campus, and as such is the first place I go looking for new photographs, or when I want inspiration.

I’m now in my eighteenth year of documenting life at Wake Forest, which provides a unique long-term perspective and the opportunity to go back to the same places many times for new photographs. One of my first successful images here was of the cupola at dusk, shot in 1997, and over the years I have been fortunate to explore changes in the library itself, as well as the students and other members of the community who inhabit it.

Please drop in Monday-Friday, 9-5 to take a look at this stunning exhibit.  Please read more about the two events planned for the exhibit.

Buildings & Roads of WFU: A Student Perspective

Friday, May 16, 2014 9:26 am

Bostwick Residence Hall

Did you ever wonder who Jasper Memory was? Or want to know more about Bostwick Residence Hall? We have got the online exhibit for you!

Special Collections & Archives is excited to release Buildings & Roads of Wake Forest University: A Student Perspective on our University’s History. This project started last summer when John Walsh, Class of 2014, worked part-time in Special Collections. His charge was to research and write-up the history of how or why buildings and roads on campus were named. The result is an engaging narrative of the campus landmarks we see every day. Enthusiastically written and complemented by the photography of Ken Bennett, Special Collections & Archives hopes that students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors all utilize this exhibit to learn more about campus and have a little fun. Many thanks to Kevin Gilbertson and his expertise for putting this online exhibit together.

Dream Big: Commencement at Wake Forest University Through the Years

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 1:47 pm

dream big

Special Collections and Archives is honored to recognize the Class of 2014 with a new exhibit “Dream Big: Commencement at Wake Forest University Through the Years.” Commencement is the culmination of years of academic work, when Wake Forest graduates are recognized and introduced to the wider world. “Dream Big” is a visually dynamic exhibit featuring images of past Wake Forest commencements, in addition to 19th and 20th century invitations, and programs. All are welcome to come see the archival materials on display as we get ready to send another class of Demon Deacons out into the world.

See details on the University Calendar.

Letters in Lead: Moveable Type and the Books It Created

Thursday, February 27, 2014 10:45 am

letters in lead heading 1

The invention of a practical method for printing with moveable type was a watershed event in European history. From Johannes Gutenberg’s first metal types in the mid-15th century to letterpress printing of today, printers and type designers have practiced their craft to create texts that are both legible and beautiful.

baskerville milton

A 1759 edition of John Milton’s Paradise Lost by the famous printer and type designer John Baskerville.

Letters in Lead, the current exhibit in the ZSR Library Special Collections and Archives Reading Room (room 625), features examples of type and other materials of printing. The ZSR Preservation Lab houses a small 1906 job press and a large supply of type font. Examples of type and other equipment from the ZSR Press are included in the exhibit.

type drawer

One of many cases of moveable type from the ZSR Press collection

The exhibit also features volumes from the ZSR Rare Books Collection, tracing the development of printing and book design from pre-Gutenberg manuscripts to 20th century illustrated books.

manuscript book of hours

Page from a 14th century manuscript Book of Hours

Letters in Lead will be on exhibit February through April 2014. Visitors are welcome any time during Special Collections and Archives open hours, Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., and other hours by appointment. For more information please contact Special Collections at 336-758-6175 or via our query form.

N.C. Archives Week!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 10:35 am

Archives Week exhibit

Archives Week exhibit

It is Archives Week in North Carolina! This year’s theme, “Home Grown! A Celebration of NC Food Culture and History” provides a wonderful opportunity for institutions across the state to highlight materials in their archives as well as create local connections.

Here at ZSR, our student Brittany put up a small exhibit in the entrance-way that contains some archival materials It also has brochures, posters, and other materials from food-related campus initiatives. Soon we will be partnering with Campus Kitchen, the Office of Sustainability, and the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative to establish collections and schedule events. Stay tuned!

Hawthorne Hill Treasures: Objects from the Wake Forest Medical Historical Archives

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 12:08 pm

hawthorne-hill-treasures-poster

Hawthorne Hill Treasures: Objects from the Wake Forest Medical Historical Archives
October-December 2013
Special Collections Research Room, Room 625
Z. Smith Reynolds Library

Books in Fiction: Deborah Harkness and Charlie Lovett

Thursday, August 1, 2013 12:00 pm

Book in Fiction: Deborah Harkness & Charlie Lovett
August-September 2013
Special Collections Research Room, Room 625
Z. Smith Reynolds Library

New Samuel and Sally Wait Exhibit in the Atrium

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 3:34 pm

A look at the new exhibit

Special Collections is happy to announce a new exhibit in the small case in the atrium. The exhibit highlights the Samuel and Sally Wait Collection and shows examples of their letters from Wait. It also includes Samuel’s walking stick and reading glasses. Take a look when you get a chance!


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