Just a quick post with updates on some of the latest additions to Special Collections.
Thanks to donor David Nudelman, we’re now home to 356 Russian books on checkers. They join our already rich Haynes collection on checkers, and they should be of interest to anyone with an interest in Soviet book design. Here are two examples:
Another donor has given us a collection of toy printing/sign-making sets. They’ll join our Updike Collection on the history of printing.
We purchased a rare certificate of membership in the Repeal Association of Ireland:
And a very fun item that you’ll have to visit to get a proper sense of. “Stulz Wonderpictures” is a small advertising booklet that doubles as a visual toy. The images inside are printed in two colors and in such a way that the first image presents a scene and text (“Where are the fish?” for instance, with a picture of a fisherman). When the included red plastic sheet is placed over the image the original scene disappears and a new one takes its place (in the example above, fish swimming in a stream). Not only is it a whimsical complement to our children’s collections, it’s a fascinating piece of printing ephemera. And best of all, this amusing toy, seemingly aimed at children, advertises whiskey made by the Stulz Brothers company in Kansas City, Missouri.
Two hundred years ago on this day, Giambattista Bodoni, the great Italian typographer, died. The Updike Collection includes one of the United States’ best collections of books published by Bodoni, as well as ephemera and a few manuscripts, and we’re going to be celebrating with an exhibition this February (so stay tuned for more information and mark your calendars for February 27th for the opening reception).
Having such a fine Bodoni collection means that in some cases we have multiple copies of items he printed. Why would anyone need more than one, you ask? Here’s an example, with two copies of a 1799 broadside side-by-side:
On the left is a copy with hand-written annotations, in this case possibly by Bodoni himself. On the right is a copy with the emendations called for in the copy on the left. In other words, this is a chance to see a great printer at work. Here are some of the details:
In many cases Bodoni (we’ll just assume that’s who made the correction marks) is indicating letters that need to be replaced, as in the case of the damaged “I” in Austria:
Or the “D” in “Ducum” with the wandering lead at the bottom of its bowl (say that ten times fast) and changes to letter spacing:
Sometimes you’ll have a letter like the “A” not keeping up with the baseline:
Or punctuation that needs to disappear completely (plus a shift closer to the center):
Here’s the full page view (Click for animation):
The devil is in the details.
(And if you find yourself wanting more bookish animated gifts, there’s no place better than the University of Iowa Special Collections tumblr.)
It’s been a while since the latest post about new additions to Special Collections, so here are notes on items that have come in during the last month or two.
If forced to choose my single favorite category of books, I’d probably go with what you might call practical books: books that have a job to do in the world and get that job done. They’re not always pretty — sometimes they feature page after page of numbers and lists. Often they show signs of being roughed up, marked up and stored in less-than-ideal locations.
One such class of items in our Updike Collection is books on print shop management, and the first two shelves of books in the image above are new additions in that category. The first shelf are transfers from our general, circulating collection. One of our sharp-eyed librarians noticed them in the stacks and asked if I was interested. I certainly was.
… and manuals on useful topics, like how to keep your Linotype machine running smoothly:
The second row of books are new purchases along similar lines, particularly handbooks for pricing a print job…
… and a sammelband bringing together six very scarce short works published in Ireland in the nineteenth century. They’re mostly religious in nature, but included among them is an 1817 report published by the Belfast Saving Bank, which includes stories of exemplary savers who took advantage of the banks services: