Confetti Distribution Devices

Instead of featuring a dashing magician, this week we’re featuring a delightful celebratory page from a catalog of magic supplies.

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The 1898 Martinka & Co. catalog from which this page is taken is part of our John H. Percival Magic Collection. (The “German” mentioned in the descriptive text references an 18th or 19th century social dance accompanied by plays and games.)

Also, I’m pretty sure a confetti flute is just any flute stuffed full of confetti. Readers are encouraged to try stuffing fancy-looking flutes with confetti and report back with their results.

Call for Proposals: 2018 Creative Fellowship

It’s that time of year again: PPL is accepting proposals for our 2018 Creative Fellowship.

This year, we’re looking for an artist working in the field of performance (theater, dance, performance art, puppetry, acrobatics, etc) to make new, research-based work related to the theme of our 2018 exhibition: hair!

Details on the Creative Fellowship, requirements, and application guidelines can be found here.

 

Bad Children of History #32: The Cutting-Edge School Desk

We found some naughty imps of yore in an unlikely place: an 1892 book on the industrial arts.

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This folio contains a true bonanza of illustrations, covering all manner of modern inventions. Each page is arranged to show developments in the design of the invention, beginning with the primitive, and ending with the cutting-edge.

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(Have you been wondering about the vanguard of egg carriers? This book can satisfy your curiosity!)

The entry on school furniture shows some truly marvelous folding desk contraptions, as well as simpler wooden desks populated by….

…misbehaving schoolchildren! We have a scowling miss undergoing some unfortunate piliferous bullying, the infamous Sleeping Guy with his head on his slate, and a lively scene of bench-style seating gone awry. Here’s a close-up of the latter situation:

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“Hey, Johnny? Hey Johnny!”

“Not now, Caleb, I’m doing my sums.”

“Johnny! Hey. Yer forehead is weird. Can I look at your sums?”

“No, Caleb. Stop being a hornswoggler. Just because this primitive wooden school furniture lacks a flat surface for you to work on doesn’t mean you can pester me.”

“Hey, Johnny. Why don’t you have ears. Did ya see the dunce kid? Did ya see his walkie talkie?”

“SHHH. Caleb. Geez.”

Poster Process Photos

As a follow-up to our recent post about our ALA statement broadside, we’re sharing a few photos taken at DWRI while they were working on the project. And if you like those, you’ll really like following them on Instagram.

We still have some posters available, so contact us if you’re interested in getting one.

Access for All

Moments of political turmoil are an opportunity for organizations to define what they really believe, and in January the American Library Association did just that with a statement titled, “ALA opposes new administration policies that contradict core values.”

We liked the statement so much we thought it deserved a chance to move off the screen and onto the page, so we teamed up with local letterpress printers DWRI Letterpress to create a broadside version of an excerpt of the statement. The text was set on one of the DWRI Linotype machines and printed by hand.

We’re going to post copies here at PPL, but we printed more than we’ll need, and we’re happy to share. If you’re interested in having a copy for your library, just contact us. We might even throw in a copy of our awesome new comic.

The finished broadside and the forme used to print it.

The Singing Waltz

Today we want to share a few delightful photos from the January 1915 issue of Harper’s Bazaar.

This brief magazine feature showcases dance moves performed by Margaret Hawkesworth and Basil Durant, popular American ballroom dancers who performed throughout the United States and Europe.

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Here are a couple of close-ups. First, Miss Hawkesworth and Mr. Durant leading off “with a graceful swinging step”:

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I love their looks of deep concentration here, as well as that delicate foot-touch!

Here’s a minuet step, accompanied by equally delicate hand-touching. So civilized!

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Readers may be interested to note Miss Hawkesworth’s stylized yet loose-fitting dress, part of a new fashion movement focusing on fabrics with drape and moving away from the long-entrenched, fashionable corseted silhouette. This article on fashion designer Paul Poiret gives a little more background into cutting-edge fashion of the 1910s.

 

Library Comics, or, Research as Hot Pursuit

We have big news:

Special Collections at the Providence Public Library is publishing a comic book!

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Lizard Ramone in Hot Pursuit: A Guide to Archives for Artists and Makers is a comic book conceived of and printed by the Providence Public Library in Providence, RI, working in collaboration with artist Jeremy Ferris, who created the storyline, illustrations, and text. It’s being distributed locally with a bonus insert illustrated by O. Horvath.

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Providence describes itself as the “Creative Capital”, and we work with a great number of artists and designers in our Special Collections. These creative researchers often have a different approach than the students, scholars, and genealogists whom many tend to think of as “typical” archival researchers.

After asking ourselves, “How can we better meet the needs of creative researchers?” and “How can we make our collections more accessible to artists and other non-traditional researchers?”, we decided to team up with a local illustrator and library student to make a fun-to-read guide demystifying archival research. (It’s also hilarious!) We wanted it to be specific enough that it could help our users, but general enough to be applicable to collections across the country.

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We’re having a comic book release party this coming Wednesday, June 21st, from 6:30-8 on the 3rd floor of the library. (Facebook event for the party here.) Artist Jeremy Ferris will give a short presentation and answer questions; we’ll also have a bevy of interactive stations, like a mini research consultation booth, a comics-drawing station, and a table where you can have your portrait drawn by a librarian. (We’ll also have snacks.)

For local blog readers, we hope to see you at the release party! For all blog readers, stay tuned for online-readable and printable versions of the comic book!