Happy birthday, Thomas Moore Johnson!

Today is the 162nd birthday of Thomas Moore Johnson, the namesake of the Thomas Moore Johnson Collection of Philosophy here in Special Collections.  What's in the collection?

The graphic above is a Wordle of all the Library of Congress subject headings in the collection – so you can see that it really is a collection of philosophy.  Johnson was interested in Plato and focused his collecting in that area.  The oldest imprint is 1494, and there are several hundred volumes with publication dates from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The majority of the collection dates from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Thomas Moore Johnson (1851-1919) was an attorney, collector, and student of philosophy in Osceola, Missouri. Johnson began collecting Greek texts while a student at the University of Notre Dame and his library eventually grew to about 8,000 volumes.

A portion of his library was presented to the University of Missouri-Columbia Libraries in 1947 by his son, Franklin P. Johnson. Another part of the collection remains in Osceola as the Thomas Moore Johnson Library.

What’s in the box?

Last week I posted a picture on our Facebook page of a 320-pound special delivery we received.  Are you dying to know what's in the box?

It's a wonderful collection of rare Kipling first editions and other Kiplingiana, donated to the Libraries by the estate of a generous donor, Helen Jenkins.  Staff members took a first look at the collection yesterday and found some great materials, including first editions, pamphlets, ephemera, and limited editions.

We will be working on cataloging this collection and making it available to researchers in the Special Collections reading room.  Email SpecialCollections@missouri.edu with any questions.

Interview with Rajmohan Gandhi

MU Libraries presents:

An Interview with Rajmohan Gandhi
“The India-Pakistan Conflict and The Path to Stability”
April 12, 2013  at 11:00 a.m., light refreshments at 10:30 a.m.
Stotler Lounge, Memorial Union

Dr. Charles Davis from the Missouri School of Journalism will hold a wide-ranging conversation with Dr. Rajmohan Gandhi, biographer and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, and former President of Initiatives of Change.  Their conversation will touch on the endless quest for world peace, Gandhi’s work in the Indian-Pakistani realm, and why the simmering conflict matters to all citizens of the world.

Gandhi has written widely on the Indian independence movement and its leaders, Indo- Pakistan relations, human rights and conflict resolution. His recent book, A Tale of Two Revolts: India’s Mutiny and the American Civil War, demonstrates the commonality shared by two countries on opposites sides of the globe struggling for freedom in the nineteenth century.

Friday evening Dr. Gandhi will also speak at the Library Society Dinner in Ellis Library. For details on the Society dinner, please contact Sheila Voss at vosss@missouri.edu.

Historic Doodles

The week before spring break is traditionally a difficult time for students to remain focused on their books. Our collection of historic textbooks offers evidence that this trend is not new. Wide margins have always provided opportunities to practice one's signature. The bald pates of historic personages have always asked to be filled in with comb-overs.


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pastedown1707smHistoric textbooks are an excellent resource, not only for those investigating the history of pedagogy, but also for those interested in getting a picture of the values and ideologies of any given historical moment. Ours is a diverse collection, comprising volumes from 1770 to 1929 and representing such core subjects as Arithmetic, and "Rhetorick," as well as less conventional subjects.  American Handy Book of the Brewing, Malting, and Auxiliary Trades sits next to a handwriting manual. Some textbooks defy disciplinary boundaries altogether. The title page of Thomas Wise's The Newest Young Man's Companion of 1770 (right) announces that it includes "a compendious English grammar, letters on compliment, arithmetic and bookkeeping, a compendium of geography, the management of horses, and the art of painting in oil and water colours."


Though in many respects historic textbooks differ from their modern counterparts, in one respect they are the same. They all bear witness to their owners' distraction. Paste downs can be filled in with faces. Margins provide space for recording personal notes that will perplex later generations, such as "This is a day of days," (below) scrawled next to the life cycle of the mosquito.

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In between reading about the Monroe Doctrine and the history of the American flag, a student using an 1885 edition of A Brief History of the United States found time to compose the following message to the reader: "Before you find out what I have got to say, page 28 you'll have to see." On page 28, the student continues, "It grieves me to think of the trouble you have taken but look on page 4." There follow a total of seven directions until the final injunction concludes, "You fool don't you know better than to chase this book from cover to cover?"


One wonders if amidst so many pages of instructions, students liked to issue some of their own. Ella Allen was a seventh grader at Potts School in 1920. She provides the following instructions on the pastedown of Primer of Sanitation, Being a Simple Textbook on Disease Germs and How to Fight Them.  "If this book should go to Rome, Just give it a kick and send it home." Her book did not make it to Rome–Potts School was in Columbia, Missouri. But maybe Ella made it to Italy one spring. One would hope she had paid enough attention to her primer to avoid the Roman fever that did away with so many of her headstrong, fictional contemporaries.



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Ink Indelible Exhibit

Faculty Lecture Series, March 12

“What Makes an Urban Species Urban?” with Prof. Charles Nilon

When: Tues., March 12, 2013
Time: 2 p.m.
Where: Ellis Library Colonnade

Wildlife management and conservation is often portrayed as dealing with rare species in remote places. Nilon’s research focuses on common species in everyday settings. “What makes urban birds
urban,” covers research on how cities act as filters influencing what kinds of birds we see in our daily lives.

This event is free and open to the public.


Family Resemblances: Early Modern Ideas on Sorting out the Natural World
Professor William B. Ashworth
Department of History, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Consultant for the History of Science, Linda Hall Library

This talk is affiliated with the 9th annual Life Sciences & Society Program symposium ‘Claiming Kin’ <http://lssp.missouri.edu/claimingkin> , Mar 15-17.
Kinship is disputed territory, investigated by a wide array of disciplines that include anthropology, cultural studies, evolutionary biology, family studies, genetics, law, medicine, psychology, sociology, and women’s and gender studies. Kinship classifications change across cultures and over time. As measures of legitimacy and arbiters of social standing, such categories have significant consequences. In the contemporary world, kinship is in flux as a result of such developments as reproductive technologies, blended families, same-sex marriage rights, and shifting gender roles. Our kin is not limited to humans, however. We belong to a vast evolutionary family tree, the history of which may influence the ways we interact with kin and organize kinship itself. The 2013 MU Life Sciences & Society Symposium, Claiming Kin, will explore the evolution of kin groups and evolving notions of kinship.

This lecture will serve to launch a Rare Books exhibit entitled “Kindred Kingdoms: Families in Flora, Fauna, and Fiction.”