Category:

Blog Archives

Halloween Hoodoo

"To catch a spirit, or to protect your spirit against catching, or to release you caught spirit – this is the complete theory and practice of hoodoo."

The above quote opens the five volume set of books entitled Hoodoo–conjuration–witchcraft–rootwork : beliefs accepted by many Negroes and white persons, these being orally recorded among Blacks and whites by Harry M. Hyatt that can be found in Special Collections.  Published in 1970, these books represent the culmination of years of interviews conducted by the author over a large portion of the Southern United States.

Not to be confused (as it commonly is), with voodoo or vodou, which are both religions derived from West African religions with a dash of Christianity thrown in, hoodoo is often classified as folk magic and is practiced mainly in the Southern United States.  The difference between hoodoo and voodoo and vodou is similar to the distinction between Wicca and witchcraft.  Also similar to Wicca and witchcraft is the fact that people often use all these terms interchangeably, though they have different meanings. Thus, one can belong to the voodoo religion and practice hoodoo, but they don't have to, and vice versa.

In hoodoo, a practitioner draws upon the spiritual power residing within them to perform a ritual to bring about power or success.  Today's mainstream culture often portrays hoodoo as a negative thing because of the common misconception that all who practice it are greedy or corrupt.

Hoodoo–conjuration–witchcraft–rootwork is a record of people's interactions with hoodoo, containing many accounts about how the interviewee was affected by a conjure or how someone they knew was affected.  One woman relates the experience she had when her neighbor put a conjure on her by burying a bottle containing  sulfur, hair, a bluestone, and roots of some sort.  According to her, this was the reason she was unable to stay up past ten o'clock each night.  She proceeds to relate how she destroyed the bottle and its contents and was able to stay up much later the following night while the next day the woman next door had to go to the hospital due to a major problem with her leg.  Another interviewee tells the author about a common practice of putting sulfur and ashes from the fireplace in a bag and keeping it in your pocket to ward off those that would do you harm.

Whether or not you believe that hoodoo works, these books make for interesting reading and are a comprehensive relation of a common practice here in the United States that most of us are largely unfamiliar with.  So if you get a chance between your Halloween celebrations, come see us at Special Collections where you can find the books mentioned here along with many others!

 

"Difference Between Hoodoo and Voodoo | Difference Between | Hoodoo vs Voodoo." Difference Between Hoodoo and Voodoo | Difference Between | Hoodoo vs Voodoo. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013. <http://www.differencebetween.net/miscellaneous/culture-miscellaneous/difference-between-hoodoo-and-voodoo/>.
"Haitian_Vodou." Reference.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013. <http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Haitian_Vodou>.
"Louisiana_Voodoo." Reference.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013. <http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Louisiana_Voodoo>.

 

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Closed Collection, Special Collections

Happy Birthday Arthur Rackham!

Last week marked the 146th anniversary of the birth of Arthur Rackham, illustrator extraordinaire. Best known for his work on children's books, fairytales, and classics, Arthur Rackham's distinctive style continues to be recognized and admired by modern illustrators, art lovers, and readers alike.

Arthur Rackham was born on September 19, 1867 to Anne and Alfred Rackham.  One of twelve children, Arthur grew up to follow in his father's footsteps and began work as a clerk with an insurance company when he was eighteen.  He soon grew bored with that and began taking night classes at a nearby art school.  In 1892, he began work as a full time illustrator with the Westminster Budget where his drawings of everyday life in London and famous personalities were a hit.  They were so popular that he often was assigned to draw royal events, such as the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of York in 1893, who would later be known as King George V and Queen Mary.

As photography began to become more popular in the newspapers, Rackham turned to book illustrations, contributing for several travel books and developing his style by contributing to other works before his first major success in the form of the illustrated Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales in 1900.  The book that really put him on the map, as it were, was his 1905 illustrated Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving.  In this book, Rackham's iconic style is fully developed and becomes enormously popular with each successive year seeing at least one new work published with illustrations by Arthur Rackham.

Rackham is known for various elements that combine in his work such as:

  • flowing lines
  • muted watercolors
  • backgrounds with hidden images or "surprising information"
  • a balance between sensuousness and chastity in his fairies and nymphs
  • just the right amount of ugliness to not be frightening in his trolls
  • forests filled with twisted trees
  • the juxtaposition of the frightening with the beautiful in a single image

In addition to his stunning watercolor prints, Rackham would more frequently do black and white line drawings.  Occasionally he would experiment with silhouette, and this is showcased beautifully in his illustrated The Sleeping Beauty (shown below).

The Sleeping Beauty

Rackham continued his illustrative work until his death from cancer on September 6, 1939.  His last work, completed just before his death, was an illustrated Wind in the Willows that was published posthumously in 1940.

We have a wide range of books and folios showcasing Arthur Rackham's work, including those from the Limited Editions Club and some first editions.  So if you get the chance, come celebrate the life of one of the most beloved children's/fairytale illustrators with us here at Special Collections.

Sources used:

"About Arthur Rackham." The Arthur Rackham Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2013. <http://arthur-rackham-society.org/about_the_artist.html>. 
"Arthur Rackham." Arthur Rackham. N.p., 1998. Web. 16 Sept. 2013. <http://www.bpib.com/illustrat/rackham.htm>.
"Rackham 101." Aleph-Bet Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2013. <http://www.alephbet.com/arthur-rackham-101.php>.
Scott, LaRue. "Arthur Rackham Illustrations." British Heritage 24.4 (2003): 52. EBSCOhost. Web. 18 Sept. 2013. <http://ehis.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?sid=9321715c-f7d8-456c-a626-c6de6fb3fc32%40sessionmgr11&vid=1&hid=5&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=f5h&AN=9676268>.

Author Self-Portrait:

http://www.art-prints-on-demand.com/kunst/arthur_rackham/self_portrait.jpg

Posted in Special Collections

I Scream, You Scream…

Cover from an ice cream freezer manual

We all scream for ice cream!  With 90% of Americans enjoying the cold dessert, it’s no wonder that Ronald Reagan declared July National Ice Cream Month back in 1984.  In addition, the third Sunday of July was proclaimed National Ice Cream Day to be celebrated “with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”  So today, get out and cool off with some of America’s favorite dessert and learn more about the history of ice cream with us here at Special Collections.

Depiction of a Roman snow runner

The history of ice cream can be traced as far back as the 4th century B.C., where legend has it that Alexander the Great, the famous conqueror and ruler of one of the largest empires in history, enjoyed iced beverages made of snow, honey, and nectar that were the predecessor to the ice cream we enjoy today.  These earlier forms of ice cream were mostly enjoyed by the noble class, with recipes being closely guarded secrets.  Iced desserts developed independently of each other in the Roman Empire and the Orient. Nero, the emperor of Rome from 54-68 A.D., had snow for these treats carried by runners from the Alps to Rome with severe punishments for those who failed to make it back before the snow melted.

Marco Polo is often credited with bringing sherbet and ice recipes to Europe after having learned them on his famous voyages.  These were again kept mostly by the royals and others in the higher tiers of nobility.  Some of these recipes may have been known to the English royalty earlier, as there are reports of Richard the Lionhearted eating sherbets in 1191 while on a Holy Crusade.

When people realized that adding salt to snow and ice helped to increase the coldness and help keep it, clever chefs now had more freedom than ever to experiment with different flavors and mixtures.  The French chef Jacques, from the court of Charles of England and Vatel, the chef of King Louis XVI have both been cited among the inventors of cream ice which, with the help of the Germans, Spanish, Italians, and possibly the Scandinavians, contributed to what became known as ice cream when these recipes came to America, where it was further influenced mostly by English and French methods.

The first written evidence of ice cream in America comes from a letter written May 17, 1744 by a guest of Governor Bladen of Maryland that describes this curious ice cream treat.  In the latter half of the 18th century, ice cream’s popularity really picked up with those that could afford it, including such well-known figures as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

The "Wonder" Freezer, with improved covered gear

Ice cream continued to gain popularity in the early 1800s with the invention of better ice cream freezers and improved ice harvesting and storing techniques.  Commercial ice cream really took off after Jacob Fussell established the first wholesale ice cream factory in Baltimore in 1851, also making the U.S. the leading country in the manufacture and consumption of ice cream, which it still is today.  Inventions such as the ice cream cone at the 1904 World’s Fair continued to help ice cream become the immensely popular treat it is today.

The effect of varying the sugar and chocolate liquor content on the stability of chocolate ice cream

Here at Mizzou, the College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources has long been a big name in ice cream research.  With noted researchers Professor William Henry Eddie Reid, Wendell Arbuckle, and Robert T. Marshall all contributing at some point to the research done here on campus on things such as the freezing properties, stability, and physical qualities of chocolate ice cream and modern trends in retail ice cream stores.  Reid went on to consult with Baskin Robbins while Arbuckle and Marshall literally wrote the book on ice cream (Ice Cream by Arbuckle and Marshall and The Little Ice Cream Book by Arbuckle can both be found in our stacks).  With all this research going on it was eventually decided that it was high time Mizzou had its own flavor of ice cream, which it now does. Tiger Stripe Ice Cream, which looks exactly as the name suggests, remains popular today among students, faculty, and alumni alike and is served at a number of school and alumni events. (To find out more about the history and development of ice cream research at Mizzou visit the website of Mizzou’s ice cream shop, Buck’s Ice Cream Place, here.)

A recipe from the Ladie's Own Home Cook-Book

To learn more about any of the topics mentioned here, or if you want to check out some recipes for ice cream from our selection of old cookbooks, come by and pay us a visit here in Special Collections (just leave your ice cream at home).

Have a happy National Ice Cream Day!

Arbuckle, W. S. The Little Ice Cream Book. [S.l.]: W.S. Arbuckle, 1981. Print.

“International Dairy Foods Association.” July Is National Ice Cream Month. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 July 2013. http://www.idfa.org/news–views/media-kits/ice-cream/july-is-national-ice-cream-mon/.

Mertens, Randy. “About Us.” Buck’s Ice Cream Place:. N.p., 12 Mar. 2010. Web. 17 July 2013. http://bucks.missouri.edu/about/history.php.

Posted in Uncategorized
Archives

Special Collections and Rare Books


Find Us on Facebook