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News from the UIUC Rare Book and Manuscript Library

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In This Issue:

  • "First Global Conflict"
    Fall 2014 Exhibition Now Open!

  • 21st Century Patron Services:
    New Software Puts Requesting Power into the Hands of Patrons!

  • RBML Now on Twitter

  • Contest: Spot the New RBML Lightpole Banners!

  • Wordsworth Trust Director Heads 10-28 "Masterclass"

  • Megan Hixson Joins RBML

  • Schedule of No. 44 Society Fall Events

  • "Real Thing Reading Group" Schedule Announced

Fall Exhibition

First Global Conflict: Contemporary Views
of the Great War

29 August—19 December 2014

Curated by Tony Hynes, Dennis Sears, Caroline Szylowicz

A century has passed since the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the premiership of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His murder in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 set in motion the first great conflict of the twentieth century and the first conflagration to involve a world-wide system of empires, treaties, protectorates, and dependencies. Casualties from the war would number in the tens of millions and tens of millions more would be displaced or suffer political persecution. Europe’s borders, as well as those in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, would be drastically redrawn. The shadow of war would remain after an incomplete peace. A revolution in Russia and the fascist movements of the 1920s and 1930s would set the stage for further global conflicts.

One hundred years later, the participants in the original conflict are gone, but records of their experiences and views of the war endure on paper and film. Here are letters, photographs, posters, pamphlets, documents, and books that represent small, but intimate looks at the ways the “Great War” changed the lives of its witnesses. We hope these contemporary views convey both the scale of disruption the war brought, and the everyday bravery of those who faced it.

Please join us for a tour of the exhibition by its curators, Tony Hynes, Dennis Sears, and Caroline Szylowicz, at the first meeting of the 2014-2015 cycle of events sponsored by The No. 44 Society, the book collecting group of Champaign-Urbana.

This exhibition is also part of a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus initiative called “The Great War: Experiences, Representations, Effects.” Twenty-four additional photographs and books from the Rare Book & Manuscript Library will also be displayed at the University of Illinois Krannert Art Museum as part of the exhibition, “La Grande Guerre: French Posters and Photographs from World War I,” 28 August through 23 December 2014.

RBML Now on "Aeon"

New Research Acounts Allow Patrons to Request Materials Themselves!

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library is now using an online system to manage patron item and photoduplication requests. The new web interface enables our patrons to request items directly from our online catalog and finding aids for viewing in our reading room, or to place duplication and digital imaging services orders. All this is documented in a personalized web account that keeps track of requests and orders.

Patrons can create their registration profiles and place requests from home and schedule retrieval of the materials. They are also able to view estimated charges and approve final billing for photoduplication requests.

To register and log-in, please visit: You'll be glad you did!

Don't Forget RBML Twitter!

Help Us Build a Base of Followers!

RBML is officially on Twitter! There are not enough characters to write out “University of Illinois Rare Book & Manuscript Library,” so our account information is: U of Illinois RBML @IllinoisRBML.

RBML Photo Contest:

Capture the Banner!

Sometime during the month of October the banners hanging from the light poles to the north, east, and west of the Library will be receiving a make-over! The first four people who post photos of the new banners to the Rare Book & Manuscript Library’s Facebook page ( or Twitter account (@IllinoisRBML) will win a fabulous, book-ish prize.

Keep looking up!


Wordsworth Trust Director Jeff Cowton Visits RBML October 28

Dancing to Follow His Master Class

October 28 at 6:00 p.m., and from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

The Director of the Wordworth Trust (Cumbria, UK) Jeff Cowton will offer a “Master Class” on "The Words of Wordsworth" (sign up required-details to follow).

This bibliographic tour will be followed by a DANCE IN THE LIBRARY: “From Regency to Romantic: Learn to Dance like Jane Austen and William Wordsworth,” 7:00-9:00 p.m. We will have callers and fiddlers from the English Country Dancers of C-U to show you how to party like it's One Eight Zero Zero!



20141001Megan Hixon Joins RBML

New Archives and Literary Manuscript Specialist

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library is very pleased to welcome Megan Hixon on board as our new archival professional. She began work in RBML on September 16 and is happily getting her feet wet learning how best to tackle organizing our unprocessed archival collections.

Megan comes to us from the University of Michigan, where she received both a BA in English Language & Literature and History in 2008, and her Master of Science in Information in Library and Information Services in 2011. Before coming to us, she worked for four years as a Library Assistant and Project Archivist at the University’s William L. Clements Library. She also volunteered as a summer intern at the Dublin (Ireland) City Public Library and Archives in 2010.

We are already impressed by her knowledge of archival practices, and appreciative of her energy and enthusiasm for working to make our archival collections more open and accessible. The future is bright indeed with Megan on board!

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

October 8, 2014, 3:00 P.M. in RBML
Kevin Graffagnino: "All the Good Books: Further Confessions of an
Unrepentant Bibliophile"

In this "sequel" to "I Cannot Live Without Books: Confessions of an Unrepentant Bibliophile," Graffagnino continues his examination of the premise that life without books and reading is not worth living.

If, in this technological age, the life of the mind is under attack, book lovers will find ample ammunition here for the battle. Some selections from his 2006 volume, All the Good Books: Quotations for Bibliophiles, will surprise you; ("The best part of my house is my book collection," Bill Gates); some will inspire you ("The harmonies of bound books are like the flowers of the field," Hilaire Belloc); and some will just make you laugh ("The only reason I didn't kill myself after I read the review of my first book was because we have two rivers in New York and I couldn't decide which one to jump into," Wilfred Sheed) but all of them will remind you that the world of books is still wonderfully alive.

Graffagnino has been Director of the William L. Clements Library at Michigan since 2008.

October 22, 2014, 4:00 P.M. in RBML
Jeffrey Sammons: "Chicago's Fighting 8th and Harlem's Rattlers"

The speaker has decided to cancel the lecture at UI due to the recent issue with Steven Salaita's appointment.

November 12, 2014, 3:00 P.M. in RBML
James Cornelius: "The Lincoln 'OKCC' (Only Known Copy Club)

James Cornelius, Curator of the Abraham Lincoln Library, will give a talk entitled; "The Lincoln 'OKCC' (Only Known Copy Club) and Other By-Ways of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library."  This will be an illustrated talk about the collections in the world's largest gathering of "Lincolniana." He will explore the mysteries of how so many publications about Lincoln are exceedingly scarce and also provide a general round-up account of the ALPLM's collections.

December 10, 2014, 3:00 P.M. in RBML
No. 44 Society Annual Holiday Party

This year’s theme is Holiday Note Writing. You know you have to do it, so why not do it with style? Come meet with fountain pen aficionados from our local Pen Central club and learn some tricks for jazzing up your end of the year missives. To inspire you further, we will have on exhibit some holiday notes from famous literary and cultural figures. You might even be able to obtain some lovely seasonal cards while here!

And as if that were not enough, we will also mark the birthday of our beloved John Milton (December 9, 1608) with cake!

"Real Thing" Reading Group Reads Again!

Fall 2014 Program Announced

The Real Thing Reading Group reads books for which the Rare Book & Manuscript Library owns the manuscript (usually the author’s own), believing that study of “The Real Thing” after reading the text may alter our perception of it and will certainly give us some insight into the creative process (not to mention goosebumps). The group meets in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, enabling us to look at the manuscript (after having read the book in a normal trade copy). All meetings are at 4:00 p.m. and all are welcome top join. To those of you who are teachers, please let your students know that they are also invited. The only requirement is to have read the book!

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15, 4:00 p.m.: Wilkie Collins, Miss Gwilt: A Drama in Five Acts. Not published, 1875.

Wilkie Collins's supernatural mystery novel Armadale was first serialized in English and American magazines from 1864 to 1866, and was published in book form in both countries in 1866. That same year, Collins adapted it for the stage in order to protect dramatic copyright, though it was never produced. A later adaptation, called Miss Gwilt, was first performed in Liverpool in 1875 and in London the following year. It opened in New York in 1879.

The prompt copy of the play held at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library contains copious notes, diagrams, and even a drawing of the set, all done by the producer of the play at London's Globe Theatre, Henry Herman. Included as well are four letters to Herman from Collins regarding the production.

Tad Boehmer will lead the discussion about this extraordinary artifact. A digital version of the Library of Congress copy of the play can be found at Copies of Armadale are available through the University Library. Penguin published a new edition in 2004, and used copies should not be hard to come across online.

A free audio recording is at:

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 4:00 p.m.:
H.G. Wells, Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul. London, 1905.

Book: Digital copy: Audiobook: In H.G. Wells’.

In H. G. Wells' Preface to the 1925 "Atlantic Edition" of his works, he recalls; “Kipps was written in 1903-4. It is only a fragment of a much larger and more ambitious design. The original title was The Wealth of Mr. Waddy. It was put aside, and I’m afraid destroyed.”

Fortunately Mr. Wells was mistaken! The discarded materials of the original manuscript are here in the
H. G. Wells Papers at the University of Illinois, along with the version published as the utterly charming and beloved Kipps. Charles Blair, who has offered to lead our discussion, informs us that this was Wells’ own favorite.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 17, 4:00 p.m.: Gwendolyn Brooks

The newly-acquired Gwendolyn Brooks Papers will provide some excellent poetic material for our December discussion. Curator and Brooks expert Anna Chen will lead. Selections to be announced.

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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