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News from the UIUC Rare Book and Manuscript Library

February 2013

In This Issue:

  • Spring Exhibit: "Names Swallowed by the Cold"

  • Charles Dickens & Wilkie Collins Play

  • Guy Fraker, Expert on Lincoln's Legal Career, to Speak 18 February

  • Student Essay Contest Entries Now Being Taken

  • Stephen Scher, Curator of the Renaissance, to Speak 13 March

  • "Casino Royale" Exhibit Opens 12 April

  • Unpublished Sandburg Poem on Guns Resurfaces


Now Open:

Names Swallowed by the Cold:
Hidden Histories of Arctic Exploration
25 January—8 April 2013
Curated by Adam Doskey

Ross Expedition

This two-part exhibition of unique materials about Arctic exploration commemorates the centenary of the Crocker Land Expedition, an Arctic expedition co-sponsored by the University of Illinois, which included recent University of Illinois graduates W. Elmer Ekblaw and Maurice Tanquary.

The exhibition in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library features manuscript materials from Sir William Parry, Sir John Franklin, and Sir John Richardson, and many association copies of works by important explorers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that focus on the Anglo-American contribution to Arctic exploration. The exhibits include items from the Palmer-Parry Collection, the Sir John Richardson Collection, the Schwatka Arctic Library, and the Mercanton Polar Library. The companion exhibition in the Library's First Floor North-South Hallway includes a pictorial timeline of Arctic exploration and highlights the connections with European Arctic explorers that are also represented in our collections.

On Thursday, 7 February at 3 pm, the Rare Book & Manuscript Library will be celebrating Charles Dickens’s birthday with a staged reading of Wilkie Collins’s play, The Frozen Deep. This play was based on Sir John Franklin’s expedition to discover the Northwest Passage and was written by Collins in collaboration with Charles Dickens. Both authors acted in the original performances. The  play will be read by actors from the University of Illinois Department of Theatre, led by Thomas Mitchell.

Adam Doskey, the exhibition's curator and Project Supervisor of the Rare Book Cataloging Project  in RBML, will give a guided tour of the exhibition at the February No. 44 Society meeting, on Wednesday, 13 February 13 at 3 pm. Don't miss it!

On 8 April at 3 pm, The Rare Book & Manuscript Library welcomes Dr. Dag Avango of the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) at Stockholm, who will deliver a lecture to close the Library's exhibition: "The Industrial Archaeology of Polar Exploration." Dr. Avango studies the history of technology in the polar regions and has written about industrial archaeology on Svalbard and South Georgia Island.

Polar bear jumping


A standard-sized set of six greeting cards (see examples, above) featuring Arctic scenes from these collections is also available for $5 from the Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Abraham Lincoln

"Lincoln's Legal Career:"
Talk and Book-signing 
3 pm 18 February 2013

RBML Welcomes Guy Fraker, Author of Lincoln's Ladder to the Presidency: The Eighth Judicial Circuit

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library is very pleased to host Bloomington-based lawyer and Lincoln-expert, Guy Fraker for a talk about his new book. 

Lincoln's Ladder to the Presidency: the Eighth Judicial Circuit (Southern Illinois University Pr., 2012) traces the formation of Lincoln's political network to the obscure Springfield, Illinois attorney's work "riding" a downstate court circuit.

Copies of Fraker's book will be available for purchase and signing at the talk.


The Harris Fletcher Award
& T.W. Baldwin Prize
Essay Contests

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).

The award for each category is $500. Entries should be emailed or forwarded 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 is 3 May 2013.

March Meeting,
No. 44 Society

"Collecting Art in the Italian Renaissance: Rome, Florence, Mantua"

A Talk by Noted Art Historian and Curator, Stephen Scher
13 March 2013 at 3 pm in RBML

The March meeting of The No. 44 Society welcomes art historian Stephen Scher. Scher is a collector and contributing curator of exhibitions at the Frick, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York. He is the author of: The Currency of Fame: Portrait Medals of the Renaissance, a Study of Portrait Medals (1994)and numerous other works and catalogs. Stephen K. Scher received his M.A. from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University in 1961 and his Ph.D. from Yale in 1966.

Scher most recently worked as a curator on the Met’s show: Masterpieces of Renaissance Portraiture, which ran from December 21, 2011 to March 18, 2012

All are welcome!

Opening in April:

Casino Royale and Beyond: 60 Years of Ian Fleming's Literary Bond
12 April—12 July 2013
Curated by Michael VanBlaricum

University of Illinois alum Michael L. VanBlaricum '72 ENG, MS '74 ENG, PHD '76 ENG, has amassed one of the finest collections of Ian Fleming material in private hands. He is also President 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.

Casino Royale

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library will display all manner of editions of Casino Royale, as well as letters, reviews, photos, and other works. The Spurlock Museum will host showings of the three film versions of the work (including the rare television show from 1954 with a blonde, American Bond), and exhibits of objects (including a Bond car!) related to the films. The Sousa Archives will concentrate on the music of Casino Royale and the Bond films, particularly the music from the 1967 film made famous by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass.

Other planned events include a special concert of Bond music and a presentation by VanBlaricum on April 12. Stay tuned for further updates!

Discovery from the RBML Vault!

and unpublished
Carl Sandburg Poem; 
A Revolver

In the course of helping to archive Carl Sandburg materials, Rare Book & Manuscript Library volunteer Ernie Gullerud recently uncovered an unpublished Carl Sandburg poem that resonates with our present national dialog on firearms.

Gullerud, a retired University of Illinois Professor of Social Work, has been cataloging the manuscripts of Sandburg's poetry in The Rare Book & Manuscript Library for the last seven years.

Sandburg's "A Revolver"

The poem's discovery has been reported upon by news organizations throughout the country.

Here it is in full, slightly reformatted to fit this column:

A Revolver

Here is a revolver.
It has an amazing language all its own.
It delivers unmistakable ultimatums.
It is the last word.
A simple, little human forefinger can tell a terrible story with it.
Hunger, fear, revenge, robbery hide behind it.
It is the claw of the jungle made quick and powerful.
It is the club of the savage turned to magnificent precision.
It is more rapid than judge or court of law.
It is less subtle and treacherous than any one lawyer or ten.
When it has spoken,the case cannot be appealed to the supreme
      court, nor any mandamus nor any injunction nor any stay of ex-
      ecution come in and interfere with the original purpose.
And nothing in human philosophy persists more strangely than the
    old belief that God is always on the side of those who have the
    most revolvers
Rare Book & Manuscript Library
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

346 Main Library, 1408 W. Gregory Drive., Urbana, IL 61801 MC-586
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