Real Pen Work and Exercises for Flourishing

We recently acquired a lovely volume entitled Real Pen Work: Self Instructor in Penmanship, published in 1884 by Knowles & Maxim.

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This book includes step-by-step instructions on everything from how to sit properly at your writing desk to the proper degree to which to slant letters. It features samples of script, promissory notes, verses for autograph albums, and these elegant business letters.

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There are handwriting exercises as well as exercises for flourishing, the latter of which sounds suspiciously like something one would find on a clean eating and wellness blog.

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The bulk of the book consists of illustrations made entirely through offhand flourishing, such as this graceful swan and this squiggly family (complete with curlicue guardian angel).

There’s even a small section of ornamental lettering, including some lovely color alphabets.

If you’d like to take a look at this or any of our other books on handwriting and hand-lettering, get in touch!

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Upcoming Cultural Events

Thanks to all who attended the HairBrained opening party on February 28th; it was a delightful evening! Remember to check the Library’s website for up-to-date information about upcoming hair-themed programming, and to pass through the Rhode Island Room on your next visit to PPL to view our exhibition.

Speaking of programming, we want to share information about two upcoming events in Providence that may be of interest to our fair blog readers:

Latinos in Heritage Conservation/ Rhode Island Statewide Historic Preservation Conference
Thursday-Saturday, April 26-28, 2018
Various locations throughout Providence
Registration required; register here before April 17.

Latinos in Heritage Conservation, Rhode Island Latino Arts, and the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission are proud to present Encuentro 2018. Spanning three full days of programs in Providence and the Blackstone Valley, this groundbreaking event brings together the 3rd National Convening of Latinos in Heritage Conservation and the 33rd Annual Statewide Rhode Island Historic Preservation Conference.

Featuring guest speakers from across the country and opportunities to meet and exchange ideas with fellow practitioners and advocates for Latino historic preservation, this is a not to be missed opportunity. Rhode Island Latino Arts, RIHPHC, and local partners have planned an engaging program of tours and special events to round out the schedule.

RISD unbound Art Book Fair
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Fleet Library at the Rhode Island School of Design
15 Westminster Street, Providence, RI
Free and open to the public

This day-long event celebrates artists’ books, zines, and experimental printed matter created by RISD students and local artists, designers, and publishers. Through exhibits, sales, and discussions, RISD unbound seeks to inspire unbound conversations around cultural publishing in the Providence community.

 

 

HairBrained Kickoff Party

In case you haven’t heard, tomorrow (Wednesday, February 28, 2018) is the kickoff party for our 2018 exhibition and program series, HairBrained! The event runs from 6:00-8:00 here at the library, and will feature curators’ tours of the exhibition, an interactive performance from our Creative Fellow Becci Davis, and a performance by Sussy Santana and Orlando Hernández. The opening is also a great chance to get a copy of our exhibition catalog, which features color photos of exhibition items alongside hair-themed poetry by Sussy Santana.

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We’re excited that opening day is nearly here. We’ve spent months carefully selecting items, researching everything from ancient Egyptian wigs to the history of the hooded hair dryer, building a fleet of custom book supports, and printing labels.

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These book supports are made of black, acid-free matboard that is cut to the measurements of each item in the exhibition.

Meanwhile, our Director of Programs and Exhibitions has been planning a fantastic series of hair-themed programs to take place at the library during the upcoming months. You can see a list of upcoming programs on the PPL website.

RISD Unbound Art Book Fair: April 7, 2018

Our fine colleagues at the Rhode Island School of Design/ RISD Library are hard at work planning this year’s (un)bound art book fair, which will take place on Saturday, April 7th, 2018. Save the date! This year’s book fair will take place in the RISD Library at 15 Westminster Street in Providence, RI.

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They’re currently accepting applications for exhibitors; registration is free, but tables fill up fast, so apply soon if you’re interested in selling or showcasing your books!

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Recipes from the Girl in White

Those of you with a great memory for detail may recall that PPL’s 2016 exhibition, On the Table, included a book published by the Providence Gas Company entitled Favorite Old Rhode Island Recipes From the Girl in White. Said book includes baking temperatures and times for common foods– valuable information to have on hand at the time of its publication, as ovens with temperature increments only became commonplace in American homes around 1945.

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We mention this today because, sadly, the “Girl in White”, also known as Sylvia Denhoff, passed away last week at the age of 99.8 years. The Providence Journal ran a fascinating obituary for Denhoff that includes her recipe for almond cookies. (We’re grateful to Matthew Lawrence over at Law and Order Party for drawing our attention to this journalistic tribute.)

If you’d like to take a peek at more of Denhoff’s favorite Rhode Island recipes, her book is available at PPL for on-site use.

Magician of the Week #49: Max Terhune

It’s been far too long since we’ve introduced a Magician of the Week, so today we bring you both a featured magician AND a featured ventriloquist’s dummy.

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Here we see Max Terhune (whose stage character Hammo the Great was actually a previous Magician of the Week), alongside his high-kneed and tiny-footed dummy, Skully, in a photo from the April 1937 issue of Genii.  (According to IMDb, this is actually the same dummy that shared a saddle with Terhune in his role as Lullaby Joslin in The Three Mesquiteers; during their Orpheum Circuit days, the dummy was named Skully Null, but once they became movie stars, the dummy was renamed Elmer Sneezeweed.)

Can’t get enough of Max Terhune? Let me suggest the 1936 public domain film The Big Show, a musical western in which Terhune appears as a ventriloquist. You can download it for free from the Internet Archive!

Can’t get enough of Elmer Sneezeweed? An original backup copy is on view at the Vent Haven Museum at 33 West Maple Avenue in Fort Haven, Kentucky. (If any of you visit said museum, we would LOVE a report-back.)

Follow our Creative Fellow’s Research!

PPL’s 2018 Creative Fellow, artist Becky Davis, has been poring over books, pamphlets, letters, and ephemera from our Fiske-Harris Civil War Collection, and looking through historic magazines and newspapers.

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If you’re interested in seeing some highlights from Becky’s research and learning more about her process, you can read her blog! She also started an Instagram account featuring photographs of materials she finds here at the library, alongside related materials from other repositories.