Special Collections & Archives Blog

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

Author Appearances in Special Collections

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 12:32 pm

During the first week of September, Special Collections will host appearances by two authors who have featured rare books, manuscripts, and libraries in their bestselling works of fiction. Book signings will follow each talk.  Both events are free and open to the public, and both will take place in the Special Collections and Archives Reading Room on the 6th floor of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library.

On Wednesday, September 4 at 3:30 p.m., Charlie Lovett will talk about his new novel, The Bookman’s Tale. In this story of bookish intrigue, the young Peter Byerly, becomes fascinated by the rare books world while working as a student assistant in the special collections department at his North Carolina college. Peter later becomes a rare-books dealer and comes upon a mysterious publication that may put to rest the Shakespeare authorship controversy once and for all.

Charlie is the son of Wake Forest Professor Emeritus Robert Lovett, and the Z. Smith Reynolds Library rare books collection and special collections reading room were an inspiration for his novel.

On Friday, September 6 at 3:00 p.m. we will host Deborah Harkness, author of the hugely popular All Souls trilogy.  Deborah is a featured author at the 9th annual Bookmarks Festival of Books, a free event happening in downtown Winston-Salem on Saturday, September 7. Her Wake Forest appearance is co-sponsored by Bookmarks and ZSR Library as part of the Bookmarks Authors in Schools program.

Deborah’s novels combine literature and history with a supernatural world of witches, vampires, and daemons who coexist warily with humans and with each other. A Discovery of Witches, the first book in the trilogy, introduced Diana Bishop, a history professor and reluctant witch, who discovers a mysterious alchemical manuscript while doing research in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. In Shadow of Night, Diana and her vampire cohort Matthew time-travel to Elizabethan England in an attempt to track down the origin and meaning of the manuscript.

A new exhibit will also be on view in the Special Collections Reading Room. Entitled Books in Fiction, it showcases some of the authors and books featured in Charlie Lovett and Deborah Harkness’s novels.

For more information, contact Megan Mulder at 336-758-5091 or mulder@wfu.edu.

The Max and Gertrude Hoffmann Photograph Collection Now Online!

Thursday, July 11, 2013 1:54 pm

Max and Gertrude Hoffmann

Special Collections and Archives is very pleased to announce the completion of a new digital collection of photographs! You can find the Max and Gertrude Hoffmann Photograph Collection online with our other digital collections. You may remember the completed finding aid for the Max and Gertrude Hoffmann Papers a few years back. We followed that up with digitizing the Max and Gertrude Hoffmann Music Manuscript Collection. We chose to digitize this photograph collection not only because it is visually rich, but also because we have received many reference requests for these materials many of which come from descendants of the Hoffmann Girls.

The Gertrude Hoffmann Girls

If you have a chance, look through the pictures and see that there are some pretty risque photos of what may or may not be someone’s granny. As always, our eternal gratitude to Barry, Kevin, and all of our students without whom we would not have completed this project.

Possibly someone’s grandmother? Definitely a Hoffmann girl.

What Are You Working On?

Friday, June 28, 2013 1:09 pm

Megan sorting type whilst wearing fashionable magnifying glasses.

Megan Blaney has worked for Special Collections for almost a year. Although relatively new to our team, Megan has proved herself an integral part of Craig’s Preservation student workforce. This summer she has made boxes for books, un-framed various documents from the University Archives, and sorted type from the Dolmen Press (pictured).

As you well know by now, we received a printing press almost a year ago and Craig has done all sorts of great things with it. The Dolmen Press Collection is an Irish printing press that WFU bought many decades ago, and is rich with printing history, samples, and even plates and type that can be used today. You may remember the beautiful ZSR Christmas card from last December was printed directly from a Dolmen Press plate.

Megan has been charged with sorting through the tiny pieces of metal type and putting it in the appropriate area of a type drawer. To confuse the matter even more, the type includes italics and Gaelic letters! Megan will also be “holding down the preservation fort” while Craig is on an extended and well deserved summer vacation.

Thanks to Megan and all of the students in Special Collections for doing the important work that you do!

Provost’s Grant Researcher Presentation: Sin and the Civil War

Monday, June 17, 2013 3:37 pm
Thursday, June 20

3:00 p.m.

ZSR Library Special Collections and Archives Reading Room

Dr. Ed Blum of San Diego State University, who is currently in residence as a 2013 ZSR Provost’s Grant researcher, will give an informal talk about his current research.

Ed is co-author of The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America. He is currently writing a book on ideas of sin and evil in the South during the Civil War, and he has been researching this topic in our Manuscripts and NC Baptist Historical Collections this month.

All are welcome to attend this presentation. Contact Megan Mulder for more information.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain (1885)

Monday, June 10, 2013 1:06 pm

Frontispiece illustration from the first edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

On nearly any list of list of best American Novels you will find Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. But it might easily never have existed.  Twain nearly abandoned his project midway through its writing, and its publication was temporarily derailed by a practical joke.

Twain’s first novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, was published in the spring of 1876 to great popular success.

First edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (American Publishing Company, 1876)

In August 1876 Twain wrote to William Dean Howells that he had already started writing

 …another boys’ book—more to be at work than anything else. I have written 400 pages on it—therefore it is very nearly half done. It is Huck Finn’s Autobiography. I like it only tolerably well, as far as I have got, & may possibly [pigeon-hole] or burn the MS when it is done.

Twain did indeed pigeon-hole his manuscript for several years, and he did not complete it until 1883. When the novel was finally finished, it was a very different book than the Tom Sawyer sequel that Twain had begun.  Huckleberry Finn takes on one aspect of Twain’s pre-Civil War childhood that Tom Sawyer did not: slavery.

In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Huckleberry Finn is a secondary character, a “romantic outcast” who lives on the fringes of civilized society.

Huckleberry Finn’s first appearance in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

In Huckleberry Finn Huck takes over as first-person narrator of his own story. The novel was Twain’s first attempt at writing an entire book in dialect, and he took pains to get his characters’ voices right. And without Huck’s distinctive voice and perspective, Twain could not have written the book that he did. In his introduction to a 1950 edition of Huckleberry Finn, Twain’s fellow-Missourian T.S. Eliot observed that

 Huck has not imagination, in the sense in which Tom has it: he has, instead, vision. He sees the real world; and he does not judge it– he allows it to judge itself. . . . Mark Twain could not have written . . . with that economy and restraint, with just the right details and no more, and leaving to the reader to make his own moral reflections, unless he had been writing in the person of Huck. And the style of the book, which is the style of Huck, is what makes it a far more convincing indictment of slavery than the sensationalist propaganda of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. [The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (London: The Cresset Press, 1950) p.ix-x]

You Title page of the first American edition

The process of publishing Huckleberry Finn was also an arduous one. Twain prided himself on being a shrewd businessman and involved himself in all aspects of publishing and marketing his own books. As one might expect, this led to difficult relations with his publishers. As Huckleberry Finn was nearing completion in 1884, Twain was becoming dissatisfied with his current publisher, James R. Osgood (who was indeed bankrupt by 1885). So Twain formed his own publishing company in partnership with his nephew Charles L. Webster.

Twain, as usual, had opinions on everything from marketing to cover design. In February 1884, for example, he wrote to Webster suggesting that they offer a package deal for buyers purchasing Tom Sawyer, The Prince and the Pauper, and the new Huckleberry Finn– a fine idea, except that the previous titles were still under copyright to other publishers [Mark Twain's Letters to His Publishers, 172]. In April he exhorted Webster to enlist as many pre-publication subscribers as possible and to time the book’s release for the Christmas market:

Keep it diligently in mind that we don’t issue till we have made a big sale. . . . Get at your canvassing early, and drive it with all your might, with the intent and purpose of issuing on the 10th (or 15th) of next December (the best time in the year to tumble a big pile into the trade)– but if we haven’t got 40,000 orders then, we simply postpone publication till we’ve got them. It is a plain, simple policy, and would have saved both of my last books if it had been followed. There is not going to be any reason whatever, why this book should not succeed– and it shall and must. [173]

But the American edition of Huckleberry Finn was not published in time for the 1884 holiday season, due to circumstances beyond the control of its author and publisher. The first set of books went out to reviewers and subscribers in November as planned. But it was soon discovered that an unknown prankster had altered the printing plate for an illustration on page 283 so that Uncle Silas was shown in a state of indecent exposure.

Corrected version of the Uncle Silas illustration

Tom Sawyer would no doubt have approved of the prank; Mark Twain, on the other hand, was furious. He recalled nearly all of the copies and had the pages replaced with a corrected version.  (A few copies of the censored illustration remain in circulation and command a very high price from collectors. )

The British edition, published in London by Chatto & Windus, made it through the print shop unscathed and was published in December 1884.

Cover of the first British edition, published by Chatto & Windus, 1884

The American first edition would not appear until February of the next year. Twain had to settle for publishing a few chapters of Huckleberry Finn in the December 1884 and January 1885 Century Magazine.

Excerpt from Huckleberry Finn from the December 1884 Century Magazine

The 174 illustrations and the cover design for Huckleberry Finn were by E. W. Kemble, a 23-year-old magazine artist selected by Twain.

Twain understood well the importance of visual images to the overall reading experience, and he had definite ideas about what his characters should look like. He was especially concerned that Huck and the other principal characters look attractive enough to be sympathetic. The author occasionally took Kemble to task for submitting illustrations that veered too far toward the comic grotesque.

Except for a few copies in deluxe leather bindings, the first edition of Huckleberry Finn appeared in illustrated green or blue cloth.

The first edition of  Huckleberry Finn sold well and proved popular with readers, but it was controversial from the beginning. Its critical reception was mixed. Some immediately hailed the novel as brilliant satire. But others were put off by the rough language and general unpleasantness of many of the characters. In a famous incident, the book was banned from the Concord, Massachusetts public library, whose board of directors included author Louisa May Alcott. By the mid-20th century Huckleberry Finn was an acknowledged classic and a fixture on high school reading lists. But critics then began to object to the novel’s all too historically accurate depiction 19th century race relations and racial epithets. This controversy is by no means resolves, as reactions to a 2011 attempt to censor Huck’s offensive language demonstrate.

Mark Twain would no doubt be pleased that Huckleberry Finn is still the subject of impassioned debate.

Inscription by Mark Twain from a 1901 Harper & Brothers edition of Huckleberry Finn

ZSR Special Collections has several copies of the 1885 first edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in various states. The collection also has the 1884 British edition and several later editions, including a 1901 edition inscribed by the author to Frank Willard. Willard wrote under the pseudonym Josiah Flynt the book Tramping with Tramps, a copy of which was in Mark Twain’s personal library.

Wake Forest Commencement Programs are online!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 4:53 pm

The Special Collections and Archives department is happy to announce that the Wake Forest Commencement Programs are now digitized and available online! We took our programs to UNC-Chapel Hill to be scanned as part of the Digital NC project. These are some of the most requested items in our collection and are a great help in finding graduates’ names, who spoke at commencement, what dates commencement was on, and how many people graduated in a certain year. People can now search these programs to see what the originals look like and find the information they need. While not a complete collection, we have a bulk of the programs from the early years until present. We are excited to have this group of materials available online now to further help researchers with their inquiries.

Spring 2013 Academic Archivist

Friday, May 10, 2013 2:06 pm

Special Collections and Archives is once again making news in the SAA College and University Archives Section Spring 2013 newsletter “The Academic Archivist.“ In this publication we announce the completion of Clarence Herbert New and Wayne Oates’ Papers. Stay tuned for Fall 2013!

Meet Our New Director!

Monday, May 6, 2013 12:18 pm

Tanya Zanish-Belcher
Director, Special Collections & University Archivist

I am so pleased and proud to be joining the ZSR Library as Director of Special Collections & University Archivist!  My professional career path has led me here to Winston-Salem after 17 years as Head of Special Collections at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. I look forward to sharing my experiences there with Special Collections here–and to focus on sharing our collections with members of the Wake Forest campus community and broader public.  Special Collections collects the rare and unique, and it is important to recognize their importance and value, and to ensure their permanent preservation. At the same time, however, administering a Department like this requires a delicate balancing act between preservation and access.  Access can mean many things, and can include a visit to see the original, or seeing a digital version of the original online.  It is important for me as an archivist, for our audiences to realize that Special Collections has resources, not only collections but its expert staff, waiting and willing to assist with a myriad of projects!  Special Collections means Sharing, in my rare book.

As an undergraduate History major, I struggled with what career I was going to pursue, until a professor referred me to the Public History program at Wright State University.  At the time, WSU was the only university in the state of Ohio offering any kind of programming in this area, and I followed a dual archives/museum track. The moment I took my first class, I knew this was what I was meant to do with my life. Archives offers a unique opportunity to combine a number of elements–the study and comprehension of the complexity of history, the sharing of these unique resources with the public, and lastly, it requires the management of people, time, and other resources. The management component has allowed me to face the challenge of evaluating these available resources and match them with the needs to both preserve and access rare and unique materials.  Plus, working with archives provides a physical challenge as well–there are always boxes to be moved and books to reshelved, and items to be shifted.  Being an archivist for over 20 years has also helped me to see my professional career as part of a continuum, in what I can contribute to my institution–I am one of many, and my role is to ensure our collections are safe and secure for the next generation.

However, and this is the critical issue for special collections and archives, there is no point in preserving material if you do not make it available for someone to use.

For additional information in regards to previous publications and my vita, please see:
http://works.bepress.com/tanya_zanish-belcher

The Henlee Hulix Barnette Papers Finding Aid is Complete!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 9:42 am

Henlee Barnette surrounded by his papers

Special Collections and Archives is overjoyed to announce the completion of the Henlee Hulix Barnette Papers finding aid!!! This finding aid has been a long time coming and we are thrilled to have it finished.

Housed in 91 boxes and covering sixteen different series of categories, the Henlee Barnette papers cover many topics of great importance during the second half of the Twentieth Century. Barnette was a Wake Forest College alumnus, a professor of Christian Ethics at Southern Baptist Seminary, a civil rights activist, a prolific author and speaker,  a loyal husband and father, a clinical psychologist, and a political enthusiast among many other things. These topics and many others are now available for researchers accessing his personal and professional papers.

Barnette boxes processed and on the shelves

Wake Forest Special Collections and Archives took ownership of the Henlee Barnette Papers between 1993-2000. It has long been a goal of the department to fully process and make available these important papers, and we couldn’t be more excited to have reached that goal! Many thanks to all who processed the collection: Audra Eagle Yun, Vicki Johnson, and most importantly Ashley Jefferson – our Special Collections intern who has worked very diligently over the past few months to complete the project.


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