Books with Personality-Sneak Peek 5

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Homer Croy

Our Will Rogers, c. 1953

Homer Croy, the author of “Our Will Rogers”, was an MU student from 1903-1907, where he was heavily involved in the publication of the school yearbook, the Savitar. Although Croy did not graduate from the University, he achieved great success as a playwright and novelist. In 1956, Elmer Ellis, the University of Missouri President, bestowed Croy with an honorary degree. Elmer Ellis donated this copy of “Our Will Rogers” to the University library. This volume gives us a wonderful peek into the friendship between Croy and Ellis. Throughout the book there are many notes and clippings from Croy to Ellis, which seem to be a gathering of inside jokes and friendly jabs. One can imagine what witty response Croy received in return.

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Posted in Special Collections

Amazing Engraved Plates of a Huge Party in Strasbourg, 1744

Louis XV may not have been the most popular king, but when he fell ill and was near death in 1744, his subjects across France prayed dutifully for his recovery.  In October 1744, once he was well enough, the king visited Strasbourg, and the town threw what looks to have been a huge party to celebrate his visit and convalescence.  There were processions through the streets, races, dances, and even fireworks.  These events were all faithfully chronicled by J. M. Weis, "graveur de la ville de Strasbourg," and produced in the nearly monumental format of a large folio with two-page spreads. This is a fete book – a royal souvenir for a royal celebration.

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The MU Libraries copy is still in the original binding, and if you follow our Adopt a Book program, you may recognize it.  William Heyde III recently donated funds to support conservation work, and Jim Downey at Legacy Bookbindery made the repairs the volume needed.  Once the book was in stable condition, we were able to send it to the MU Libraries Digital Services unit. So, thanks to a generous donor, a conservator, a couple of rare book librarians, and several digital imaging and metadata experts, this book is now available to the world.  We think that in itself is cause for celebration!  

Get a closer look at the plates or page through the text in the University of Missouri Digital Library.  Be sure to use the zoom feature to take in the details – the variety of tiny figures that populate these prints is really amazing.

Weis, Johann Martin, d. ca. 1795. Représentation des fêtes données par la ville de Strasbourg pour la convalescence du Roi; à l'arrivée et pendant le séjour de Sa Majesté en cette ville. Inventé, dessiné et dirigé par J. M. Weiss, graveur de la ville de Strasbourg. Paris: imprimë par Laurent Aubert [1745]. MERLIN catalog record

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Posted in Digital Collections, Rare Book Collection

Book with Personality-Sneak Peek 4

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Victoria, Queen of Great Britain

Leaves from the journal of our life in the Highlands, from 1848 to 1861…

This published journal contains excerpts from the personal accounts of Queen Victoria in the mid-19th century. Perhaps one of the most interesting details about this particular volume is the signature on flyleaf. It reads, “To Robert Downie from Victoria Queen. Sandringham Jan. 2 1872”. Scottish-born Robert Downie was a “footman” or “equerry” to Victoria’s son, Prince of Wales. Downie’s duty was to support the Prince in official duties and private life and may have also been responsible for the Royal horses. Downie, 47 years old at the time, must also have held a high rank in the military as it was a requirement of employment.

In the signature, Queen Victoria notes, Sandringham, a privately owned Royal residence located in Norfolk, England. The property was purchased in 1862, however, the Queen made her first visit to Sandringham in 1871, only a year before the book was signed.

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