home Events and Exhibits, Special Collections, Archives, and Rare Books Special Collections exhibition travels to Kansas City

Special Collections exhibition travels to Kansas City

An exhibition from Special Collections was recently featured at the Mid-America Arts Alliance in Kansas City as part of First Fridays at the Crossroads Art District.  The photos show selections from the traveling exhibition Beyond Words: Visual Narratives from the Block Book to the Graphic Novel, which looks at the ways artists have used words and pictures to tell stories over a span of 500 years. Our exhibition partner, Exhibits USA, did a wonderful job of installing the exhibition in their gallery space! 

The exhibition will be on tour throughout the United States through 2019, sharing the richness of Special Collections with libraries and museums across the country.  For more information about booking the exhibit in your area, see the Exhibits USA bookings page.

Photos provided by Mid-America Arts Alliance. Used with permission.

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Kelli Hansen

Kelli Hansen is a librarian in the Special Collections and Rare Books department. She teaches information sessions in Special Collections, does reference work, and maintains the department's digital presences. Contact Kelli

home Special Collections, Archives, and Rare Books, Workshops Primary Source Workshop: Great Content for your Classroom

Primary Source Workshop: Great Content for your Classroom

Are you excited about using primary sources with your students? Do you want to know how the State Historical Society of Missouri and MU Special Collections can contribute sources for your classroom? Are you helping students find resources for National History Day projects? This free educator workshop is for you!

Join the State Historical Society of Missouri in Ellis Library on the University of Missouri campus to explore:

· SHSMO collections in person and online, with a focus on the 2017 National History Day theme: Taking a Stand in History

· MU Special Collections

· SHSMO’s art gallery with curator Dr. Joan Stack

· Strategies for using primary sources effectively to make National History Day projects stand out

Please RSVP at shsmo.org/events. Attendees will be offered a free parking pass. In order to guarantee delivery, please register prior to November 4.

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Kelli Hansen

Kelli Hansen is a librarian in the Special Collections and Rare Books department. She teaches information sessions in Special Collections, does reference work, and maintains the department's digital presences. Contact Kelli

MU Libraries Celebrate Banned Books

photo-6Don't worry if you missed our Banned Books Week celebration during the week of September 25th. We celebrate banned books every day of the year! 

Banned Books Week is a week long celebration of books that have been challened or banned in different parts of North America. It was organized in order to promote people's right to read. 

 "Everything should be available for anyone who wants to access it," says Emilee Howland-Davis, a PhD student in the English department, regarding the importance of protecting the right to read. photo-1-2

She and her English 2100 class exercised their right to read on Thursday, September 29th, when they did readings of banned books out on Speaker's Circle. They read excerpts from Harry Potter and passed out bookmarks promoting Banned Books Week.

photoHowever, the efforts to stop banned books does not end once the week is over. Ellis Library continues that fight through multiple exhibits.

Be sure to come by the information desk and see our exhibit on banned books! Try and guess what book each of the covered books are! Each covered book is a famous piece of literature, many of which are included in reading lists for English classes. On the covering is key reasons why they have been banned or challenged.photo-8

See if any of your favorites have ever been banned by checking the ever growing list of banned books! Favorites such as Catcher in the Rye and Harry Potter are included in the list.

So don't be discouraged if you missed the week! Just pick up your favorite banned book and read it! It's always the right time to help the fight against banned books!photo-7

home Events and Exhibits, Special Collections, Archives, and Rare Books Color Our Collections – Homecoming Edition

Color Our Collections – Homecoming Edition

This week is homecoming at Mizzou, and to celebrate, we’re releasing another coloring book based on images from Special Collections. Unlike our last offering, this one is entirely focused on Mizzou and includes drawings, cartoons, and images from the Savitar, the yearbook of the University of Missouri, published from 1894 to 2004. There are also a few covers and illustrations from student magazines such as the Showme and Outlaw as well.  All of the materials in this coloring book are freely available in the University of Missouri Digital Library, so you can browse and turn the pages of Mizzou history for yourself.

Download the coloring book here, or stop by Ellis Library for the Homecoming Open House after the parade for a coloring table and more goodies.

Download

 

Share your work with us online through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and be sure to use the official homecoming tag, #MIZ106HC.

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Kelli Hansen

Kelli Hansen is a librarian in the Special Collections and Rare Books department. She teaches information sessions in Special Collections, does reference work, and maintains the department's digital presences. Contact Kelli

home Cycle of Success, Special Collections, Archives, and Rare Books The Lucubrator and the Young Ladies Academy of Philadelphia

The Lucubrator and the Young Ladies Academy of Philadelphia

This post is the eighth and final part of our continuing series on Dr. Juliette Paul's English 4300 class and their research on an early American manuscript in Special Collections.

By an Anonymous English Major, Recently Graduated

While researching the origins of a mysterious manuscript that was donated to Ellis Library many years ago, our Early American Literature class learned not only about who might have written the book, when, and why, we also learned a great deal about what life was like in the time period in which it was written. The Lucubrator is a commonplace book, written in late eighteenth-century America. It includes many essays, one of which, “On Female Education,” helps to reveal how eighteenth-century readers felt about the roles of women in society.

The author of the essay begins by recalling the recent opening of a local school for women: “The admittance of females into the Academy in the United States, is an eminent instance, of their refined cultivation and advancement in literature.” The academy to which the author refers is likely the Young Ladies Academy of Philadelphia. The opening of this particular academy would have been deeply significant to many Americans, as it was, according to Marion B. Savin and Harold J. Abrahams, “the first chartered institution for the higher education of young women in the United States and perhaps in the world” (59). The Academy was established on June 4, 1782, by John Poor, and, five years later, on January 9, 1792, it was granted a charter by the laws of Pennsylvania. By that time, one hundred women were in attendance. They studied the expected subjects, such as reading, writing, math, and history. They also studied singing, piano, and astronomy.

It was considered a prestigious accomplishment to graduate from the Academy, though often completion meant women might be better wives and mothers, rather than opening doors for careers. In James A. Neal’s An Essay on the Education and Genius of the Female Sex (1795), he writes, “When admitted to an equal participation of the illuminating beams of science, we observe women rising to the most conspicuous and enviable state of eminence” (2). Neal published his Essay on Education with his account of the Academy’s commencement activities held on December 18, 1794. Neal’s praise for the Academy shows his faith in women’s intellectual capabilities, but his was not the prevailing opinion of the time. Indeed, when Benjamin Rush delivered an address to the Academy on July 28, 1787, he made glowing remarks on female learning, but only because he believed that receiving a liberal education would make a girl “an agreeable companion to a sensible man” (79).

Domestic life was quite important in the eighteenth century and women often played an important role in making domestic life run properly. The essay “On Female Education” seems to convey this idea. Its author writes of women: “If they are never to fill a public seat or harangue in public, will they never have an occasion to read in a company of friends, or, to teach what they have leart [sic] to their families and children?” While researching this essay in the The Lucubrator, we learned that when it was written, America was beginning to come around to the idea that women deserve an education in order to become happier, more productive people.

People, most often, will be as great as they are allowed to be. When we continue to treat women as inferior, less intelligent people, it makes it hard for them to prove otherwise. Many are not given the chance to better themselves, and when they are, their accomplishments are overlooked by people who only seem to pay attention to what they want to see. While there is still a long way to go before people who are not white men are treated with equal amounts of respect, education continues to be the best route to achieving this.


Works Cited

Rush, Benjamin. Essays, Literary, Moral & Philosophical (Philadelphia, 1798).

Savin, Marion B. and Harold J. Abrahams. “The Young Ladies’ Academy of Philadelphia.” History of Education Journal. Vol. 8. No. 2 (Winter, 1957): 68-67.

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Kelli Hansen

Kelli Hansen is a librarian in the Special Collections and Rare Books department. She teaches information sessions in Special Collections, does reference work, and maintains the department's digital presences. Contact Kelli

home Cycle of Success, Special Collections, Archives, and Rare Books When Authors Go Missing: Putting Manuscripts into Perspective, by Tyler Morris

When Authors Go Missing: Putting Manuscripts into Perspective, by Tyler Morris

This post is the seventh part of our continuing series on Dr. Juliette Paul's English 4300 class and their research on an early American manuscript in Special Collections.

by Tyler Morris

After weeks of working to decode The Lucubrator, I can’t help but feel I’m left with more questions than answers. The title page offered our class a name: James Noyes. But we quickly realized that the manuscript’s authorship is more of a mystery than any of us originally thought. Simply searching for “James Noyes” in databases and Google was not going to cut it. So I altered my approach. I looked to find “Lucubrator” essays written by other authors who could potentially eliminate James Noyes as a candidate for the authorship of some or all of The Lucubrator’s essays.  

Though I found a few published essays written by “The Lucubrator,” none matched those bound in the manuscript. We concluded that we could not attribute the manuscript to Noyes definitely nor question the attribution made on the title page. Eventually, I posed a different question: what good is a book that no longer has a known author or place of origin?

When considering my answer, it dawned on me that I had learned more from the manuscript than I originally thought, even without knowing its author. The fact that we could not find a printed version of a Lucubrator essay suggests either that someone should have done a better job of bookkeeping or that the manuscript may not have been meant for the public. But, then again, I think my speculation that the manuscript’s essays were at one time printed to entertain and inform readers is a compelling one, for several reasons.

Some of the essays are not dated in chronological order and others are given two dates, which may signify the dates on which they were printed elsewhere. Moreover, the essays are morally edifying. My favorite essay is one entitled “On Friendship.” After overcoming the difficulty of having to read literature in the original handwriting, you find that the author of The Lucubrator actually offers a rather beautiful description of true friendship. Phrases like “Friendship, when it is sincere, is acknowledged by all to be a very fruitful source of happiness,” or “When there is a dissimilarity of opinions or pursuits, there seldom exist any great degree of friendship; for that difference is apt to create disputes between each other, and people in general are too much attached to their own ways of thinking to respect another of different or opposite sentiments,” offer some insight and advice that is still very useful today. The same goes for the essays that offer criticism, such as “Propriety of Behaving with Moderation In Parties,” which is pretty much self-explanatory, and “On the Propriety of Taxing Ministers of the Gospels for the Support of Government.”

Likewise, learning about the life of the best candidate for the manuscript’s authorship, James Noyes of Atkinson (1778-1799), was inspirational. Interestingly enough, Noyes was around the same age as me and my classmates when The Lucubrator was written, which made me feel like I needed to step my game up as far as everything is concerned! Noyes was a prodigy responsible for publishing a Federal Arithmetic for Congress, as well as a number of almanacs and even an astronomical diary, which are profound achievements for anyone, but especially for an author so young. A few years later, Noyes died of polio, after being forced to use crutches. Issues with immobility left him stuck in his house for most of his final days.

I think that integrating short essays like the Lucubrator essays with applications such as Twitter and Facebook would be an excellent way to entertain my generation, as well as a tool for teaching life lessons. The idea and form of The Lucubrator are what we can take away from our research experience and what we can call the manuscript’s history and purpose, even if the author conceived of it differently.

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Kelli Hansen

Kelli Hansen is a librarian in the Special Collections and Rare Books department. She teaches information sessions in Special Collections, does reference work, and maintains the department's digital presences. Contact Kelli

home Events and Exhibits, Special Collections, Archives, and Rare Books Life and Letters in the Ancient Mediterranean

Life and Letters in the Ancient Mediterranean

An intriguing event is coming up in Ellis Library! It's called "Life and Letters in the Ancient Mediterranean" and is being presented by the departments of Classical Studies, Art History and Archaeology, the Museum of Art and Archaeology, Special Collections, the Missouri Historic Costume and Textile Collection, and Gamal Castile.  See actual artifacts of everyday life in Ancient Greece, the first books by Classical poets printed on this side of the Atlantic, a 3000 year old fragment of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, authentic reproductions of Ancient Greek hoplite weapons and armor along with a demonstration of Ancient Greek warfare tactics.

Please join us for a multi-department celebration of Ancient Mediterranean Life and Letters 5 p.m. Monday, October 10 at room 114A Ellis Library. Special Collections Librarian Tim Perry will introduce the range of materials relating to the ancient Mediterranean that are housed in Ellis Library's Special Collections, from a 3,000 year old fragment of The Book of the Dead to an translation of Cicero printed by Benjamin Franklin. Benton Kidd, Curator of Ancient Art, will explain the artifacts of daily life.  The event will be a riveting and valuable source of information. Any and all are welcome. We hope to see everyone in Ellis Library room 114A on October 10, 2016.gallery

armor everydaylifeobjects dsc00041 dsc00042 dsc00052 dsc00054

Lucubration and Inspiration

This post is part 6 of our continuing series on Dr. Juliette Paul's English 4300 class and their research on an early American manuscript in Special Collections.

by Jon Crecelius

Though we don’t have the technology to travel back to the past, we can still piece together clues that give us a glimpse of what the past was like. In conducting research on The Lucubrator, I did exactly that. My interests leaned towards the intellectual and literary cultures of post-revolutionary America, and how they might have influenced the mysterious author of the manuscript, called James Noyes on the title page.

Some of the most notable writers of eighteenth-century America were none other than the “Founding Fathers.” Men such as Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison, with their works entitled Notes on the State of Virginia (1785), Poor Richard’s Almanack (1732-58), and The Federalist Papers (1787-88), all wrote well known publications that would have shaped the literary and social culture of the manuscript author’s time. But these men were not the only authors writing important pieces in and about early America. One important, but overlooked, author is J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur (1735-1813), an influential French immigrant farmer who lived in New York.

Post 7_Letters from American Farmer title page

The writings of Crèvecoeur espouse the type of freethinking, industriousness, and morally minded spirit so often dictated by The Lucubrator’s author. In his famous essay, “What is an American?,” Crèvecoeur asserts “We are all animated with the spirit of industry which is unfettered and unrestrained because each person works for himself” (2). This portrait of Americans, driven by a strong work ethic, is found also in Jefferson’s writings and may be compared to the industrious writer we meet in The Lucubrator. More significant, however, is that all three writers—Crèvecoeur, Jefferson, and the author of the manuscript—express admiration for the American farmer and the pastoral joys of agricultural life that many believed came with it. In one passage of his Notes, Jefferson writes “Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue. It is the focus in which he keeps alive that sacred fire, which otherwise might escape from the face of the earth” (179). Likewise, the author of The Lucubrator writes in an essay entitled “On Agriculture”: “If gentleman in the highest walks of society possessed a taste for the amusement of gardening, the cultivation of fruit trees, and other branches of agriculture, it would perhaps contribute as much to health and innocence, as to national independence and prosperity.”

If James Noyes of Atkinson is the author of The Lucubrator, he seems to have been a man of high ideals and strong morals. In my opinion, though he makes himself out to be an important thinker, Noyes is mostly distilling the ideas of writers who came before him. However, this does not make his work unimportant. It is still, despite its enigmatic character, an important discovery that adds to our knowledge of the early American landscape; and, because this work is one that has been previously unstudied, it shows us how those people forgotten by history thought and lived.


Works Cited

St. John, James Hector. "What Is an American?" Letters From an American Farmer. 1782. 

National Humanities Center. Web. 15 Apr. 2016.

Jefferson, Thomas. Notes on the State of Virginia. The Federalist Papers Project. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.

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Kelli Hansen

Kelli Hansen is a librarian in the Special Collections and Rare Books department. She teaches information sessions in Special Collections, does reference work, and maintains the department's digital presences. Contact Kelli

Stand Up for Your Right to Read!

Next week is Banned Books Week. Stand up for your right to read! Emilee Howland-Davis, a PhD student in the English department, invites everyone to join her English 2100 class on Thursday, September 29th, anytime between 11:00 and 3:30 in Speaker’s Circle. We will read from our favorite banned books and talk to people about banned, challenged, or censored materials. Please bring your favorite banned book, and join us in standing up for our right to read.

Additionally, the English 2100 class has prepared a display of banned books in Special Collections. We hope you will stop by Special Collections and check it out.

20160920_145205-collage

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Kelli Hansen

Kelli Hansen is a librarian in the Special Collections and Rare Books department. She teaches information sessions in Special Collections, does reference work, and maintains the department's digital presences. Contact Kelli

The Lucubrations of Vicesimus Knox

This post is part 5 of our continuing series on Dr. Juliette Paul's English 4300 class and their research on an early American manuscript in Special Collections.

by Erik Wasson

One of the reasons that The Lucubrator seems so strange is the range of topics the manuscript covers, as is promised in its subtitle, Containing Essays on Various Subjects. However, influential writers of the eighteenth century commonly published literature on “various subjects.” In my research, I have focused on the famous essayist Vicesimus Knox: specifically, his two published essay collections, Winter Evenings; or, Lucubrations on Life and Letters (London 1788; New York 1805) and Essays Moral and Literary (London, 1778; Philadelphia 1792).

Post 6_Knox Essays Title Page

Winter Evenings covers a variety of subjects just as does The Lucubrator. Besides having the word “lucubrator” in their titles, both works have a table of contents that lay out similar topics of interest. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word “lucubrator” as “a nocturnal student,” and the word “lucubrations” as “the product of nocturnal study and meditation; hence, a literary work showing signs of careful elaboration. Now somewhat derisive or playful, suggesting the notion of something pedantic or overelaborate.” This definition of the word “lucubrator” gives a clue as to the purpose of The Lucubrator and the reason for why the contents of the manuscript are so wide-ranging, from discussions of female education to living in the countryside. The author’s mission was to create a manuscript, which, told through an apprehensive narrative voice, had intellectual thought and moralistic and societal concern as its structure.

Post 6_Knox Essays Table of Contents

In his prefaces to Essays Moral and Literary and Winter Evenings, Knox discusses lucubrations as if they were a genre all on their own. He claims that their literary footprint is significant to his culture and to the education of readers. What is most interesting about Essays Moral and Literary is found in the preface. Here Knox writes:

An unknown Writer who sends his lucubrations into the world, and solicits public favour, is exactly in the condition of a new man aspiring to hounours among the ancient Romans. They who have established their fame, are jealous of an intruder; they who are competitors, are angry with a rival; and the unconcerned spectators will seldom withdraw their eyes from the contemplation of allowed merit, to examine the pretentions of doubtful excellence.

Perhaps to avoid being criticized by other writers and readers of his day, Knox attempted to publish his essays anonymously. In the preface to the second edition of Essays, Knox wrote: “The Author of the following Papers can truly say, he never meant to claim them” (ix). This statement made by Knox gives strong evidence towards why The Lucubrator was never published. Knox calls his essays “the unguarded production of his leisure hours.” Perhaps the author of the manuscript thought, too, that lucubrations were too private or personal for publication.

Post 6_Knox Essay On Idea of Patriot

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Kelli Hansen

Kelli Hansen is a librarian in the Special Collections and Rare Books department. She teaches information sessions in Special Collections, does reference work, and maintains the department's digital presences. Contact Kelli