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News from the UIUC Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Director's Note:

Welcome to the new RBML E-Newsletter!

There is so much happening in The Rare Book & Manuscript Library that we’ve decided to establish a newsletter to keep you informed and up to date on our activities.  The newsletter will appear monthly and will include upcoming events, news of recent acquisitions, happy discoveries and highlights of the collections, as well as profiles of scholars and students working with the extraordinary primary resources in RBML. This newsletter will allow us to provide you with information and schedules of events in one place so that we don’t fill up your mailbox too often with separate announcements of each event and milestone.  We hope you like it!

If you have any questions or ideas you’d like to share, please contact our editor Dennis Sears at

—Valerie Hotchkiss, Director of The Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Current Exhibition In RBML:

picture of Adam Smith

Wealth of Notions:
Economists in Conflict
14 September—14 December 2012

Curated by Samuel Bostaph

Economic thinking begins with the recognition of scarcity. The limitation of the means for securing the ends that are the purpose of individual or collective action requires choosing among possible means. The ends themselves are limited by the finitude of human aspirations and of life itself. Choosing rationally among ends, as well as among suitable means, requires principles of choice. Economics is the science of those principles.

This exhibition traces the formulation of modern economic thought through representative texts drawn from the Rare Book & Manuscript Library's Hollander Collection of Economica.

Assembled by Jacob Harry Hollander (1871-1940), Professor of Political Economy at Johns Hopkins University, the Hollander Collection is one of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library's great treasures. Containing nearly 4100 books, manuscripts, letters, realia, and portraits, it encompasses the broad sweep of almost 450 years of economic thought.

A printed catalog is available, as well as a .pdf file.

Special Exhibition
at Urbana Free Library
Supports C-U "Big Read" Program:

Earliest Known Photo of Mark Twain

A Midwestern Childhood: Tom Sawyer at The Rare Book & Manuscript Library

21 September28 October 2012

Curated by Tad Boehmer

How has The Adventures of Tom Sawyer managed to maintain such lasting influence and still appeal to fans of all ages in the over 135 years since its debut in 1876? Its author Samuel L. Clemens (1835-1910), better known as Mark Twain, secured its popularity in his lifetime through the release of many editions and foreign translations. He also responded to his characters’ fame by writing several sequels. Since then, numerous artists have taken on the task of illustrating Twain’s work, and countless adaptations have been written for a wide range of formats, including comic books, television shows, movies, plays, and even a ballet. The items in this exhibition come from The Rare Book & Manuscript Library which manages extensive holdings related to Mark Twain and his works, representing the entire depth and breadth of the career of one of America’s greatest writers.

Next No. 44 Society Event:
10 October 2012,
3:00 p.m., 346 Library

Third Annual Joan Friedman Lecture in Book History

For the October meeting of The No. 44 Society, we welcome Daniel Traister, the Curator of Research Services, Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Pennsylvania.

Traister will deliver the third annual Joan Friedman Lecture in Book History, "Circulating a Copy of Thomas Gray's "Poems" (1775) in 1776." He has written extensively on the history of books and printing and on topics in English and American literature.

All are welcome!

"Soapbox on the Quad"
17 October 2012
11:45 am
University of Illinois Quad

Political Speech 100 Years Ago: The Election of 1912

This event will "sample" the activism and political speech of the past. Students from Theatre and the U of I Speech Team will perform the speeches of presidential candidates and political activists of 1912. The speakers will dress in period attire and proclaim their political views from the tops of soapboxes. A political speaker of special significance to Illinois, Carl Sandburg, will be represented there as well. Campaign songs of the period will be sung by students from the Music department and audience participation is greatly encouraged. Come chant campaign slogans, cheer, and jeer for the political candidates of yesteryear. This free event is sponsored by the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the Department of Theatre, and the School of Music.


Mississippi Bubble
Het groote tafereel der dwaasheid (Amsterdam: 1720)

Special Companion Lecture to RBML's
"Wealth of Notions" Exhibition:
23 October 2012,
4:00 p.m., 346 Library

"The Great Mirror of Folly:
The Mississippi Bubble"
by Larry Neal

Please join us for a lecture on the Mississippi Bubble by Professor Emeritus of Economics, Larry Neal. Built from a chapter in Professor Neal's forthcoming book (Yale U.P.), "The Great Mirror of Folly" amplifies an episode in economic history well-represented by works in The Rare Book & Manuscript Library's Hollander Collection of Economica. All are welcome!

Fall Symposium on Electronic Publishing:
24 October 2012,
3:00 p.m., 346 Library

"Academic e-Publishing vs. Commercial e-Publishing in the Humanities"
Kenton McHenry, Bradley Tober, Michael Simeone, and Theodore Gray

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library and the Image and Spatial Data Analysis Group at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications are sponsoring this symposium on Electronic Publishing.

A panel of experts will explore the current landscape of e-publishing as it relates to the humanities. Please join us as issues springing from the tension between the interests of academic versus commercial are discussed and analyzed. All are welcome!

Soybean Press to Help Celebrate the Morrill Act:
26 October 2012,
8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The Illini Union

Morrill Act Sesquicentennial Celebration:
The Future of Public Education

The Soybean Press will produce a commemorative printed work in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act. This Act allocated 10,000 acres of Federal government land to each state to sell, the proceeds from which were used to establish public colleges including the University of Illinois.

The Soybean Press will be hosting a hands-on printing demo and distributing this limited edition commemorative piece at the Sesquicentennial Celebration hosted at the Illini Union.

To learn more about the Morrill Act Celebration, please visit their website at:

Carl Sandburg

CU Folk & Roots Festival!
3 November 2012, 3:00 p.m.
Urbana Free Library's
Busey-Mills Reading Room

"Carl Sandburg:
Music of the People,
Voice of the People"

Carl Sandburg dedicates his American Songbag to the "Unknown Singers," or the people who lived and died, having sung, but remain unsung. Not only did Carl Sandburg collect and record the music of the people, the unknown people, he also dedicated himself to speaking to them and to speaking for their cause. He wanted to unite common men to work toward their mutual benefit. Early in his career, before the Chicago Poems propelled him to greater recognition, Sandburg worked as a lecturer and activist, always with the people as his cause and concern. In this event, we will celebrate the music that Carl Sandburg collected, the speeches he gave, and the poems he wrote.

This event is co-sponsored by The Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the CU Folk & Roots Festival, the University of Illinois Department of English, and the Urbana Free Library.

December No. 44 Society Event:
12 December 2012,
3:00 p.m., 346 Library

Holiday Cheer Party,
Book Brag, and "biblioTECH" Project Update

Come join us for a Holiday Cheer Party and book brag. Kolb-Proust Librarian Caroline Szylowicz will also present an update on "BiblioTECH," a new center within RBML devoted to using new technologies—everything from digitization to bio-imaging—to study special collections materials. Club members and all in the mood to share new acquisitions or old favorites are invited to bring highlights from their collections for display. All are welcome!

Rare Book & Manuscript Library
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

346 Main Library, 1408 W. Gregory Drive., Urbana, IL 61801 MC-522
217-333-3777    Ask A Curator

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