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News from the UIUC Rare Book and Manuscript Library

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In This Issue:

  • "From Babylon to Baseball"
    Spring Exhibition Opens January 24

  • Last Call for Fall 2013 Essay Contest Entries

  • Gwendolyn Brooks Celebration!
    A Special Program of Poetry and Song April 24

  • Grad Assistant Tad Boehmer Discovers Letter from Illustrator of
    "A Christmas Carol"

  • Library to be Closed Friday morning, January 10

  • Spring 2014 No. 44 Society Schedule

  • Visiting Scholar Applications Close February 1

Next Exhibition
Opens Friday,
January 24

Babylon to Baseball: Recent Additions to the Rare Book & Manuscript Library
24 January —
16 May 2014

Curated by:
Valerie Hotchkiss, Marten Stromberg, Anna Chen, Caroline Szylowicz, Tad Boehmer, Tony Hynes, Chloe Ottenhoff, Dennis Sears, and Sarah Lindenbaum

babylon to baseball exhibit

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library has made a number of important book and manuscript additions over the past few years. This exhibition will showcase over thirty new pieces.

Collections and items to be highlighted range from a 4000 year old Babylonian clay tablet to scarce baseball reference works once owned by the American League President's Office. Also on display will be Incunabula (pre-1501 imprints), items from the new Gwendolyn Brooks Papers, recent Carl Sandburg acquisitions, early English playbills, and modern fine press publications.

But wait, there's more!

We'll also be showing original drawings by the graphic artist George Cruikshank, a letter from Marcel Proust, the fantastic Edward Lear book of parrots (1832), and a postcard from H. G. Wells taking credit for the idea of an atomic bomb.

We look forward to starting-off the New Year with these exciting new works!

Last Call for Entries!

Fall Semester 2013
Essay Contests:

The Harris Fletcher Award and
The 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 sponsors two prize competitions each Fall Semester 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).

The award for each category is $500. Entries should be emailed to Dennis Sears (dsears (at) illinois (dot) edu), the Rare Book & Manuscript Library's Public Programs Manager, 346 Library, 1408 W. Gregory Dr., Urbana, IL 61801, MC-522. Deadline for entry: 10 January 2014. Winners will be announced at the 12 February 2014 No. 44 Society meeting


Gwendolyn Brooks

RBML & Campus to Celebrate the Gwendolyn Brooks Papers

A Performance of Poetry
and Song
Thursday, April 24, 2014

The University of Illinois is rolling out a warm welcome for the recently-aquired Gwendolyn Brooks papers.

Mark your calendars for an April 24th, two-part celebration of Brooks life and work!

The afternoon session will feature a lecture by Haki Madhubuti, the former Director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center at Chicago State University and author of over twenty books of poetry and prose.

The evening session in the newly-renovated Lincoln Hall Theater will alternate readings of Brooks' poetry with commentary, as well as songs and a performance by a troupe headed by Brook's daugher Nora.

A coalition of planners and performers from English, African-American Studies, Theater, Music, the University Library, and Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University are busily rounding the programs and details into shape.

Check our website and future RBML Newsletters for more details.

RBML Graduate Assistant Tad Boehmer Recovers a "Christmas" Gift from 1909

Catalogs Letter from an American Illustrator of Dicken's A Christmas Carol

Tad Boehmer made an interesting discovery this past month when cataloging an 1869 American edition of Dickens' classic holiday tale—a letter from the work's illustrator!

Check out his "Non Solus" blog entry for December 23rd!

RBML to be Closed
Friday Morning,
January 10, 2014

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library (and the rest of the University Library) will be closed from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for Library Cleaning Day.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

We will re-open at 1 p.m. in much spiffier shape!

The Remaining 2013—2014
Schedule of Meetings of
The No. 44 Society,
a Convivial Confab for Book Collectors

February 12, 2014 AT 3:00 P.M. in RBML

Henry Hébert, the Rare Book Conservator at the University of Illinois Library will talk about conservation and care of rare materials. Winners of the 2013 Fall Semester Fletcher and Baldwin Essay contests will also be announced.

March 12, 2014, 3:00 P.M. in RBML

J. Kevin Graffagnino, Director of the Clements Library at the University of Michigan will give a talk entitled; "Bibliophilia to Bibliomania."

April 9, 2014, 3:00 P.M. Field Trip!

Please join us for a field trip to the Fresh Press! Pull a piece of paper and find out more about what's happening in the book arts in our area.

May 14, 2014, 3:00 P.M. in RBML

Paul Gehl, Custodian of the John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing at the Newberry Library in Chicago will talk about the University of Illinois Cavagna Collection.

Rare Book & Manuscript Library Invites Visiting Scholar Applications

The John "Bud" Velde Visiting Scholars Program

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library annually awards two stipends of up to $3,000 to scholars and researchers, unaffiliated with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who would like to spend a month or more conducting research with our materials.

Information about this program and how to apply is found on our Web site at:, or contact the Public Programs Manager Dennis Sears (dsears (at) illinois (dot) edu) with further questions. Deadline for application is:
*1 February 2014*

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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