Instruction in the Archives!

On Monday, a class from the Iowa State University Office of Precollegiate Programs for Talented and Gifted (OPPTAG) visited Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA). The course was titled “Cook Your Way Through U.S. History.” In the SCUA classroom, I demonstrated how to find SCUA materials on their topic (cookbooks) and reviewed procedures and handling guidelines in our reading room. Amy Bishop, Rare Books and Manuscripts Archivist, reviewed different cookbooks from Rare Books and recipes from our Manuscript Collections & University Archives and provided students with context on the collections and books.

OPPTAG students viewing cookbook from Rare Book Collection

OPPTAG students viewing cookbook from Rare Book Collection

The students then came into our reading room and looked for historic recipes they plan to cook this week. You should come into our reading room too and check out our cool cookbooks! We’re open Monday-Friday from 10-4! You can also check out some selected cookbooks online in the Library’s Digital Collections.


Rare Book Highlights: Mapping the terra incognita of plants

By which Your Majesty will find, That there are Terrae Incognitae in Philosophy, as well as Geography. And for so much, as lies here, it comes to pass, I know not how, even in this Inquisitive Age, That I am the first, who have given a Map of the Country.

From the Nehemiah Grew’s dedication to King Charles II in The Anatomy of Plants.

“…there are Terrae Incognitae in Philosophy, as well as Geography. And for so much, as lies here, it comes to pass, I know not how, even in this Inquisitive Age, That I am the first, who have given a Map of the Country.”

So wrote Nehemiah Grew in The Anatomy of Plants, published in 1682, in his dedication “To His Most Sacred Majesty Charles II, King of Great Britain, &c.” Looking at the beautiful and abstract plates illustrating the inner structure of plants, I sometimes feel I am peeking into a whole separate world, which is why Grew’s Anatomy of Plants (call number QK41 G869ap) is one of my favorite books in our collections.

Plate from Grew’s Anatomy of Plants illustrating a sumach branch under magnification.

Nehemiah Grew (1641-1712) was an English physician, son of the English nonconformist minister Obadiah Grew, whose oppositional religious and political views (he was a Parliamentarian during the English Civil War) frequently brought him into conflict with the authorities. Nehemiah, unlike his father, was not politically active, and, in fact, he was a member of the Royal Society, a scientific society that had been granted a royal charter by King Charles II in 1662.

Illustrations of the roots of the primrose, wood-sorrel, devil's bitt, tuberous iris, dandelion, dragon plant, and spring crocus.

Illustrations of various roots in Grew’s Anatomy of Plants.

Grew is famous for being among the first naturalists to use the microscope to study plant morphology. He was also believed that plants resembled animals in having organs that each had an internal function, and throughout the book he devotes chapters to the use of each of the parts of the plants that he identifies. This correspondence between animals and plants can be seen in his noted observations of the flower parts that he suggested correspond to male and female sexual organs.

Plate of St. Johns wort flower under magnification from Grew’s Anatomy of Plants.

Stop by Special Collections and University Archives to explore more of Grew’s “mappings” of the inner world of plants.


Ex libris Charles Atwood Kofoid

Bookplate, reads "Ex-libris Charles Atwood Kofoid" in Geographische Geschichte des Menschen.

Bookplate, reads “Ex-libris Charles Atwood Kofoid” in Geographische Geschichte des Menschen.

Occasionally we come across a book with an interesting provenance, or history of ownership, that we didn’t know we had. Recently our reference specialist came upon a book in our collections with the bookplates of Charles Atwood Kofoid. A quick Google search informed her that Kofoid was an American zoologist of some note.

Kofoid (1865-1947) was a zoologist at University of California, Berkeley. He classified many new species of marine protozoans, and he was an early supporter of the creation of a marine station in La Jolla, California, first called the Marine Biological Association of San Diego, which later became Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He served as the assistant director at Scripps from 1903-1923. His papers are held at University of California, San Diego and the Bancroft Library at University of California, Berkeley. For photographs of Kofoid, see UC San Diego’s digital collection.

The title page and bookplate of Geographische Geschichte des Menschen.

The title page and bookplate of Geographische Geschichte des Menschen.

And the book? It is a copy of Geographische Geschichte des Menschen, und der allgemein verbreiteten vierfüssigen thiere : nebst einer hieher gehörigen zoologischen weltcharte by Eberhardt August Wilhelm von Zimmermann, published in Leipzig, Germany, in 1778 (call number: QL711 Z65g). It is a work of zoogeography, a field that studies the geographical distribution of animals.  Zimmerman was a German geographer and zoologist who traveled widely throughout Europe and was one of the first to publish books in this field.

Now comes the question, how do we happen to have this particular book in our collections? While we don’t have detailed records of all our acquisitions, a clue comes from the biography of Kofoid. He was born in Iowa’s neighboring state of Illinois, and worked for a number of years (1897-1903) as superintendent of the Illinois River Biological Station. Following that, in 1904-1905, he traveled with Alexander Agassiz on the Albatross Expedition as a planktonologist. Perhaps before his travels, he sold off some of his books, and this title made its way into the collections of Iowa State University Library.


Our unique copy of Guide to the Mushrooms

Cole, Emma L. Taylor. Guide to the Mushrooms. C.K. Reed, 1910.

ISU Parks Library Special Collections and Archives has a unique copy of this book: it was “extra-illustrated” by a previous owner. The customization of books has a long and varied history, and was sometimes taken to surprising extremes, with little or no regard for preserving books (even rare or costly ones) as issued. The great libraries of the world have collections of extra-illustrated and “Grangerized” books created by noteworthy and talented persons.

In the case of our Guide to the Mushrooms, the extra illustrations are 117 amateur watercolors of most or all of the mushroom species covered by the book. About 150 additional pages have been glued between the original 206 pages. The extra-illustrator also augmented the text by adding species entries, expanding the indices, and so on.

Figure 1

Figure 1. Here, the extra-illustrator added flair to a previously blank space.

 

Figure 2

Figure 2. The book’s front paste-down endpaper.

We aren’t completely sure who extra-illustrated this book, but the name, address, and upper-right note appear to be in the same hand, so maybe Mark M. Maycock was the artist. The penciled inscriptions were probably made by a bookseller, perhaps the same one who affixed the little label.

All of these elements are provenance evidence — copy-specific information about a book’s origin, history, and owners. The provenance of rare and/or valuable books is of great importance; in other cases, the information may be of interest to a select few people (family, scholars, librarians, or archivists).

Figure 3

Figure 3. Note the page numbering at top left and right.

The extra-illustrator glued in about 150 pages (about 75 leaves of paper) and wanted them to have numbers, too. His or her solution is evident above (FIG. 3): the sequence is 112, 112-1, 112-2, 113, and so on. If these details seem less than noteworthy, well, perhaps they are in this case. The fine points of most books’ typography, construction, and condition are of little to no concern; but, as with provenance evidence, precise physical description of the most important books is greatly appreciated by scholars and collectors. Their work sometimes relies on it — for example, to determine the authenticity or completeness of a copy, or to establish the correct or definitive version of a text.

Figure 4

Figure 4. Another scan from the book, just for the fun of it.

In-recataloging this book, I took special care to make notes about what makes ISU’s copy unusual. We’ll never find out who is interested in such things if we don’t describe them! Here’s a link to the book in our library catalog. If you want to see ISU’s extra-illustrated copy of Guide to the Mushrooms, visit us at the Parks Library Special Collections and Archives. If you want to see the book as issued, a complete scan is available online.


Thanks for coloring with us!

It’s been quite the week of coloring! We’ve enjoyed sharing our collections with you, and we hope you’ve enjoyed coloring them. Here is the final coloring page of the week. Another from Novo teatro di machine et edificii.

Vittorio Zonca’s Novo Teatro di Machine et Edificii… Call number: TJ144 .Z75n

Vittorio Zonca’s Novo Teatro di Machine et Edificii… Call number: TJ144 .Z75n

Click here to download and print this image.

Share what you have colored by tagging #ColorOurCollections #ISU_Archives


Friday Flower Power!

Happy Friday! Our first page of the day is from Histoire des insectes de l’Europe by Maria Sibylla Merian. Merian was a naturalist and nature artist known for her illustrations of insects and plants. This book contains many beautiful illustrations of insects, plants, and flowers.

 

MerianInsects

 

Click here to download the page.

Share your work, tag #ColorOurCollections #ISU_Archives 


Abstract coloring

To the botanist, it is an asparagus root, but to you it may be a maze of bubbles or the rings of Saturn. Let your imagination fly with this one! It is from Nehemiah Grew’s Anatomy of Plants from 1682.

Nehemiah Grew's The Anatomy of Plants. Call number: QK41 G869ap

Nehemiah Grew’s The Anatomy of Plants. Call number: QK41 G869ap

Click here to download and print the page.

Please share what you’ve colored! Tag #ColorOurCollections #ISU_Archives



Herbal illustrator

Good morning! Today’s coloring pages come from our rare books collection. First up is a page from Otto Brunfel’s Herbal from 1532. Brunfel was one of the three “founders of botany.” Many early herbals were printed with engravings that were meant to be hand-colored later. Now you can be an herbal illustrator!

Otto Brunfel's Herberum vivae eicones. Call number: QK41 .B835h.

Otto Brunfel’s Herberum vivae eicones. Call number: QK41 .B835h.

Click here to download and print the page.

Share your colored page! Tag #ColorOurCollections #ISU_Archives


A spooky visit to Special Collections

Halloween is almost upon us, so I thought I would highlight a few spooky things that can be found at Iowa State Special Collections and University Archives.

Sometimes it is surprising what types of ephemera show up in archival collections. (“Ephemera” is the word archivists use to describe things that are made for a limited period of use, like flyers, advertisements, and brochures. You might save some ephemera items, yourself, like the movie ticket stub from your first date with your significant other.) Some Halloween ephemera shows up in the Rath Packing Company Records, MS 562, the records of a meat packing company that operated in Waterloo, Iowa, from 1891 to 1985. Apparently around 1971, the company used the holiday to promote its meat. Our collection includes a promotion sheet with instructions for how to display the free trick or treat bags they sent along with every case of hot dogs.

Treat or treat bags and flyer, circa 1971. Promotional material from the Rath Packing Company Records, MS 562, Series 8, box 29, folder 116.

Treat or treat bags and flyer, circa 1971. Promotional material from the Rath Packing Company Records, MS 562, Series 8, box 29, folder 116.

Are you throwing a party for Halloween? No party is complete without festive food, right? Well, never fear because the ISU Tea Room Records (RS 12/9/4) have you covered! The Tea Room is a non-profit, learning laboratory that has been serving meals to faculty, staff and students at Iowa State since the late 1800s. It is supported by the Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management Program and is operated entirely by students in the Quantity Food Production Management class. The collection includes recipe cards that students used to prepare food to serve to Tea Room customers. One of these recipes is an “Owl Salad for Halloween,” which makes use of another recipe for fruit salad dressing. Here are the recipes below, if you wish to recreate these owl-shaped delights:

Recipe cards from the Tea Room Records, RS 12/9/4, box 4.

Recipe cards from the Tea Room Records, RS 12/9/4, box 4. [click for larger image]

Librarians, contrary to popular belief, like to party like its 1999…especially when it is 1999. The Library Staff Association Records (RS 25/7) document a Halloween-themed office decorating contest from–you guessed it–1999! Here’s one of the winners, showing a “librarian” assaulted by a pile of books! (Don’t worry, no librarians were harmed in the taking of this photograph.)

Winner of the Funniest category for the office decorating contest, 1999. Library Staff Association Records, RS 25/7, box 4, folder 2.

Winner of the “Funniest” category for the office decorating contest, 1999. Library Staff Association Records, RS 25/7, box 4, folder 2.

Librarians also sometimes dress up in clever, frequently book-themed costumes. Check out the Librarians in Costume tumblr (not affiliated with ISU) to see some of the other high jinks librarians get up to.

Still trying to decide what to dress up as, yourself? If you’d like some historical costume ideas, the Department of Textiles and Clothing History of Costume Collection (RS 12/10/5) has fashion plates representing many periods and cultures, including early Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cultures, as well as European and American fashions through many centuries. They are fun and fascinating to browse through! Get some ideas for next year!

Iowa State campus is not without its tales of haunted places. See the Hauntings folder in the Traditions, Songs, and Cheers Collection (RS 0/16/1) for stories of student and staff encounters with unexplained phenomena in ISU buildings. Allegedly haunted buildings on campus include the Farm House Museum, Fisher Theater, Linden Hall, and Freeman Hall, among others. If you are interested in exploring haunted places beyond campus, Special Collections has several books on ghosts in Iowa.

Of course, Special Collections has plenty of spooky reading material to offer for those who like a fright, such as this pocket-sized edition of Rudyard Kipling’s The Phantom Rickshaw, and My Own True Ghost Story (PR4854 P45 1920).

Title page of The Phantom Rickshaw, PR4854 P45 1920.

Title page of The Phantom Rickshaw, PR4854 P45 1920.

We also have several ghost and horror comic book series, including Halloween Comix from the Underground Comix Collection (MS 636) that Whitney shared last month. We also have classic titles from the 1950s and 60s such as Shock Suspenstories, Nightmare, Vampirella, Creepy, and Vault of Horror.

Creep on down to Special Collections and University Archives for a taste of Halloween spookery! Have a safe and fun holiday.