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News from the UIUC Rare Book and Manuscript Library

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In This Issue:

  • "Casino Royale" Exhibition Open Through July 12

  • Remembering Proust's "Swann" at 100

  • Curator Anna Chen to join RBML this Summer

  • Bloomsday Celebration is June 16

  • RBML Acquires Edward Lear's Exquisite Ornithological Work on Parrots

  • Sarah Hoover and Xiangyn Duan Win RBML—No. 44 Society Essay Contests

  • "Life on the Moon" Fall Exhibition Preview

  • No. 44 Society Program of Events for 2013-14 Taking Shape

Current Exhibition:

Casino Royale

Casino Royale and Beyond:
60 Years of Ian Fleming's Literary Bond

12 April to 12 July 2013
Curated by
Michael L. VanBlaricum

University of Illinois alum Michael L. VanBlaricum (BSEE ’72, MSEE ’74, PhD ’76), has amassed one of the finest collections of Ian Fleming material in private hands. He is also President and co-founder of the Ian Fleming Foundation.

To celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the publication of Fleming's first book featuring secret agent "007," James Bond, the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the Spurlock Museum, and the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music have invited VanBlaricum to curate a multi-venue exhibition.

Exhibits in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library include a manuscript copy of Fleming’s earliest surviving short story, dozens of editions, translations, and even parodies of Casino Royale, and Fleming’s letter bludgeoning his friends to actually buy the book.

Also highlighted are selections from Fleming’s notable journalism career, the first editions of all the “Bond” books, original cover art for the 1955 British paperback, and a typescript manuscript of Casino Royale on loan from the Lilly Library at Indiana University.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Collaborative Celebration!

The Birth of Bond: Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale at 60

"The Birth of Bond" is a collaboration of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the Spurlock Museum, and the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music. Please visit the "Birth of Bond" website for complete information on all events and exhibitions.

Spurlock Museum

Exhibit: "Unconventional Bond: The Strange Life of Casino Royale on Film"
12 April—16 June 2013
600 S. Gregory, Urbana, IL

Unlike all the other Bond novels, which were sold to Eon Productions for filming, Casino Royale went through several producers and was made into three startlingly different films. This exhibit tells the story of these three versions, from the modest CBS-TV production in 1954, to the bizarre, psychedelic spoof of 1967, to the “canonical” 2006 Daniel Craig version, considered one of the best Bond films. The exhibit also traces the legal path that led to Never Say Never Again, a second version of Thunderball, and looks at the never-produced Bond script, Warhead. Props, scripts, posters, and an Aston Martin film car will be displayed. Hurry! Ends soon!

Sousa Archives and Center for American Music
Exhibit: "The James Bond Theme: Music to Live, Die, and Love Another Day"

12 April 2013—14 March 2014
1103 South Sixth Street, Champaign, Illinois

Many film scholars have suggested that John Barry’s early Bond orchestrations established an entirely new music genre to portray the excitement and intrigue associated with the spy thrillers of the 1960s. However, the syncopated guitar riff that begins the “James Bond” music theme that was first introduced in 1962 for Dr. No, and the rich orchestral cadence of the infamous “007” tune that was launched in From Russia with Love in 1963 have remained the two quintessential melodies associated with all of the Bond movie sequels that followed between 1964 and 2012. This exhibit explores the historical and musical roots of these two distinct movie themes, and illustrates through music, photographs, graphic art, and oral history interviews their lasting impact on the Bond movie legacy.

marcel proust

Upcoming Summer Exhibition!

"Swann is 100"

Join us July 19 as RBML opens an exhibition to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the publication of Marcel Proust's Du Côté de Chez Swann (Swann's Way,) the first volume in his magisterial;
À la recherche du temps perdu, (1913-1927.)


RBML Welcomes New Curator
Anna Chen

We are thrilled to announce the arrival of a new Curator of Rare Books & Manuscripts. Anna Chen will be joining the RBML team in mid-July. She is a remarkable special collections librarian, who comes to us from Princeton University where she has served as Assistant Curator of Manuscripts since 2011. Previous to that appointment, she worked at the Harry Ransom Research Center at the University of Texas, the Beinecke Library at Yale, and the Lewis Walpole Library.

Anna received her Ph.D. in English Literature from Yale University, with emphasis on medieval and early modern literature and has published on both 15th-century and modern manuscripts in the Journal of English and Germanic Philology and Digital Humanities Quarterly: DHQ. She loves to teach with primary resources, introducing students and the broader community to the ideas and human achievements contained in the library’s special collections. Needless to say, we can’t wait for her to arrive!

Annual James Joyce
Bloomsday Celebration!


16 June from 4-6 pm
Mike 'n Molly's
105 N Market St. Champaign

Bloomsday is an annual celebration of James Joyce and his legendary work, Ulysses. We will have music, poetry, readings from Joyce, Guinness, and more! Please come join us for our annual celebration hosted by the Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

If you would like to read some of your favorite Joyce or participate in some other way, please contact Marten Stromberg at

Library Acquires Classic of Natural History, Edward Lear’s "Parrots"

Edward Lear

How pleasant to have Mr. Lear among RBML’s great illustrated bird books! We all know and love Edward Lear (1812-1888) as a nonsense poet and sketcher of comical scenes like the one above which appeared in his 1846 Book of Nonsense. But are we as well-versed in his serious art as we are in his silly limericks?

The library has just acquired Lear’s early work on Parrots, which is said “to be the finest ever published on that bird family and among the greatest ornithological works ever produced.” Completed when Lear was just 20 years old, the large folio includes 42 hand-colored lithographs by Lear, illustrating the parrot family in all its variety and color. Lear’s book represents several firsts: 1) it is the first bird book published in large folio size; 2) the first study of a single family of birds; and 3) the first bird book drawn entirely from living specimens. In addition, he pioneered the use of lithography (rather than engraving) for this kind of scientific art.

Lear had worked for the Zoological Society in London as a very young man and began this project with the Earl of Derby, who kept a private zoo at his estate Knowsley Hall. While living at Knowsley Hall, “where children and mirth abounded” (Lear, 1871), he also began to dash off limericks and silly drawings to amuse his young friends. But that is another story….

Lear’s work had a great influence on two contemporary ornithologists, John James Audubon and John Gould (whose seminal works are also held by the library). These men represent the Triple Crown of ornithological art and all are now among our collections at Illinois.

Essay Prize Contest Winners!

Xiangyun Duan wins
Harris Fletcher Award,
Sarah E. Hoover wins
T.W. Baldwin Prize

To foster the use of primary sources and rare materials, The Rare Book & Manuscript Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers two prizes each year for the best research paper based on original sources from RBML. The prizes, co-sponsored by the The No. 44 Society, include separate judging and prizes for undergraduate (Fletcher Award) and graduate (Baldwin Prize) student papers. Professors in any department may nominate a student’s work. All submissions must be made by faculty (not by the students themselves). Winning entries receive a $500 prize.

Xiangyun Duan's GER 199 CHP research paper, Recent and Historical Provenance of “Aristotelis Ethica Aliaque”, analyzed issues of provenance relating to the Library's Pre-1650 MS0008, which had been a personal gift of University President Edmund J. James in 1916. Mr. Duan is a Junior in Engineering.

Sarah Hoover's LIS 590 research project, Magnificent Entertainment: Royal Ceremony and Spectacle Under the Stuart Kings, was a full-fledged exhibition proposal using ten items found in RBML that textually and graphically illustrate the lengths to which the Stuart monarchs went to legitimizing their reigns with highly-ceremonial displays. Sarah is a Masters student in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science.

Xiangyun and Sarah will be honored at the September 11 meeting of The No. 44 Society.

moon and earth

Upcoming Fall Exhibition:
Life on the Moon

30 August—13 December 2013

From Lucian's True History up to H.G. Wells' The First Men in the Moon, this exhibition will trace the scientific and literary background of speculation about life on the moon. We will kick things off with an IPRH sponsored lecture by Wells' scholar Dr. Simon J. James from Durham University on The First Men in the Moon and we will host several other lectures, from the perspective of Astronomy, Geology and others. Several other events will be hosted in Champaign-Urbana during the exhibition to bring the focus of our scope on our inspiring, constant companion.

(I Know it is too early to think of Fall, but...)

The 2013-14 No. 44 Society Schedule is Taking Shape!

  • September 11: Graham Arader, Gallery Owner and Book Dealer
  • October 9: Christian DuPont on Dante
  • November 13: Tour of "Life on the Moon"

Mark your calendars!

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

346 Main Library, 1408 W. Gregory Drive., Urbana, IL 61801 MC-586
217-333-3777    Ask A Curator

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