Anyone interested in bookbinding will want to mark their calendars for Saturday, the 26th of January at 1:00.
Thirty years of bindings and restoration will be on display, and the proprietors, George and Patricia Sargent, will be offering a lecture on their experiences in the field. Read more at the Providence Athenaeum’s blog.
The event is sponsored by the John Russell Bartlett Society, and is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
Three quick announcements about PPL Special Collections:
First, our weekly tour for this Friday (August 4th) is cancelled, but we’ll be starting up again next week (the 11th). Just stop by at 3pm any Friday for a free introduction to some of our amazing treasures.
Second, construction has begun here at the library, part of which involves closing off the stairway leading to the third floor. You can still get here by taking the elevator to level 3 and then heading to the right.
Third, as a reward for those who make the journey past the construction, we’re starting a rotating weekly mini-exhibition of two items from the collection on a theme. This week’s topic is the Olympics, and we’ve got two items (a 1790s map of London and a guide to gymnastics from 1851) on display in the case by the entrance.
So stop by (just not this Friday) and take an analog look at some of the things mentioned here on the blog.
The Wonder Show has been in the works for months (the first mention on this blog was back in November), and it’s organizers have been hard at work the whole time. Glass plate negatives from our collection have been transformed into magic lantern slides, writing workshops at the library and elsewhere have produced a script, and local actors have prepared to deliver it. For those who haven’t already gotten their tickets for the sold-out shows tonight and tomorrow, it’s too late, unfortunately (although there may be a little overflow and last-minute seating available, so stop by if you’re in the area). But if you can’t make it to the event itself (and even if you can), you should definitely still stop by and see the exhibition here at PPL (put together by Carolyn Gennari and Anya Ventura) on the history of optical entertainments and the process they went through in recreating a magic lantern show here in Providence.
The exhibition will be on display through the rest of May.
Civil War sesquicentennial events are underway all over the place, including Providence City Hall. Brown University students have used local resources (including our Harris Collection on the Civil War & Slavery) to put together what promised to be a fascinating exhibition on Providence during the period of the Civil War.
Here’s a little more info from the exhibition organizers:
After 150 years, some might assume that the history of the Civil War is a closed book. The exhibit Rhode Island in the Civil War: Myth, Memory, and (Mis)Information reopens a chapter of this story to reveal the deeper complexities of Rhode Island’s Civil War experience. Curated by students in Brown University’s Methods in Public Humanities class in collaboration with the Rhode Island Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration Commission, the exhibit examines the history and legacy of Rhode Island’s involvement in the Civil War, using items from local archives and libraries. The exhibit will be on view at the City Hall Gallery from April 28 through June 22, with an opening reception on May 3.
A period-uniformed brass band playing music of the Civil War will kick off the opening reception at 5 p.m. on the steps of City Hall, accompanied by a uniformed color guard of teenage Civil War reenactors from the Met School. At 5:30 a brief speaker’s program will include remarks from Keith Stokes, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Commission, Chairman of the Rhode Island Sesquicentennial Commission Frank Williams, City Archivist Paul Campbell, and Brown University Professor Anne Valk, whose students researched, planned, and installed the exhibit. The opening is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.
About the Gallery at City Hall:
Offering space to artists and organizations that might not have a permanent gallery, the Gallery at City Hall exhibits an eclectic array of work that highlights the artistic and cultural diversity found in the Providence community. It is open to the public during City Hall business hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30 p.m. and is located on the second floor. City Hall is located at 25 Dorrance Street.
In addition to the fascinating items we have on exhibition here at our 150 Empire St. location, you can now see PPL Special Collections material at three other locations across the city:
At the RISD Fleet Library (through March 30, 2012), check out Dard Hunter & the Roycroft Print Shop, curated by Robert Garzillo. The exhibition is staged in the downstairs library and upstairs outside of Special Collections. Look for Roycrofters material from our Updike Collection.
Tomorrow at the Providence Athenaeum, the “Wilde at Heart” celebration begins (a limited number of tickets are available), and it will include an exhibition of Wilde materials. Among them you’ll find volumes like the first edition of The Ballad of Reading Gaol from PPL Special Collections.
And through May, the John Carter Brown’s exhibition hall will be filled with items illustrating Lawrence Wroth’s classic The Colonial Printer (which is to say many great examples of early American printing). The first edition of The Colonial Printer was itself printed by Daniel Berkeley Updike’s Merrymount Press, and punches, matrices and type designed for Updike will be on display in the exhibition.
That’s a busy schedule of excellent exhibitions. You should probably get started right away.
Our regularly-scheduled Civil Warrior of the Week post will be taking a brief holiday hiatus and returning in two weeks. In its place, here’s something even better: your chance to party like its 1799.
First: Visit the Library’s 3rd floor exhibition gallery too see some fascinating items you probably haven’t encountered before. The exhibition is called “At Play,” and it will be on view until February 15.
Second: In tandem with the real-world, physical exhibition we’re also introducing an online mini-exhibition. But it’s an exhibition with a twist: not only can you view images of items from the exhibition, you can recreate those items for your own use. We’re offering images and instructions for creating replicas of five items from the exhibition, ranging in date as far back as the 17th century.
Let us know what you think. And have fun.
For anyone wondering who actually uses those old books in Special Collections, here are two examples:
I mentioned the Wondershow last month, and the team’s most recent blog post offers a nice sense of the kind of questions raised and answered by material like the Percival Collection, our collection of books and periodicals on the topic of magic. And all the research will eventually lead to a fascinating public event and exhibition.
Meanwhile, scientists are right now using special collections material like the whaling logbooks from our collections (and others) to better understand the changing climate. Check out the Historic Sea Ice Data Home Page to find out more about how PPL’s whaling collection is helping scientists better understand our world.
Join us tomorrow, Sunday the 16th of October, at the Library for the kick-off event in our two-month series on Louisa May Alcott. Tomorrow’s schedule includes a Living Literature performance, a book-signing by Harriet Reisen and a screening of the documentary Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women. On display in the 3rd-floor exhibition gallery outside Special Collections will be an exhibition of materials relating to Alcott and nurses of the Civil War.
Join us this Thursday evening at 6:30 for a lecture on one of the most active and important members of the 19th-century Providence book trade, Sidney S. Rider. Russell DeSimone will discuss Rider’s wide-ranging activities, from publishing and book selling to historical research and activism. To find out more, visit the Library’s events calendar.
We do our best to make our collections as easy to find and use as possible, and although you can only find some things here at the library through card catalogs in our reading room, we’re trying to get as much information online as we can. The most recent example is our Harris Collection on the Civil War & Slavery Collection Ephemera, which Special Collections intern Robin Alario organized and created a finding aid and online exhibition for.
Here’s a roundup of some other recent attempts to bring Special Collections to the internet:
Look forward to a lot more in the future.