Category: Special Collections

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New request and registration system

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If you’ve used many materials here in Special Collections, you’re probably all too familiar with these little yellow slips of paper.  They’re our call slips, and until recently, we required all readers to fill one out for each item being requested from the stacks.

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This summer the MU Libraries transitioned over to a new computer system, and we took it as an opportunity to try a new way of requesting and paging materials.  Instead of filling out your name and contact information multiple times, you’ll be asked to do it once per year, on our new Patron Registration Form (you can even print it out from our website, fill it out in advance and bring it with you to the reading room if you want to save time). On subsequent visits, simply check in at the desk.  We’ll be able to complete the rest of your request electronically – no handwriting or carbon copies required!

Although we don’t yet have the capability to take requests online, you can, as always, email us to place materials on hold.  We’re hoping that this system will prove easier and more efficient for everyone involved. No more repetitive request writing for you, and no more wrangling thousands of paper slips for us.  Our call slip mascots, the Special Collections sheep, might have gotten a little excited when they heard about this.

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The new registration system takes effect August 1.  Although we’ve spent weeks practicing and trying to anticipate bugs, we’ll probably need your patience as we learn this new way of doing things.  Please feel free to contact us with any thoughts, concerns, or problems.

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On the Twelfth Day of Christmas in July…

… we present Jesus and the Twelve Apostles.

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In this collection of the Gospels from 1591, the text is written in both Arabic and Latin.  It’s inscribed “With compliments to my friend Dr. W. Burggraaf, Christmas 1931.”

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A beautiful example of works in translation, the book also contains 149 woodcut illustrations.  They were, however, printed from only 68 blocks, so the careful reader can discern some copycat pictures in different places.  Like the two below, both used to illustrate a version of the same story in Matthew and then in John.

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Reusing woodblocks was a fairly common practice, particularly in bibles where multiple versions of similar events or themes are told by the various authors of the books of the Bible throughout.  We’ve come across several other books in our collection where the illustrations give us deja vu.

That’s it for the 12 Days of Christmas in July series!  Have a merry holiday, and if you should feel like celebrating with us, stop by and see us next week – we’d be happy to show you any of the books featured here, along with any of the others in our collections!

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On the Eleventh Day of Christmas in July…

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… we give you The Singer of Tales written by Albert Bates Lord, a large part of whose library came to us in a donation in the Spring of 2011.

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Gifted in 1960 by the author, this book contains a fun little surprise inside that we found when paging through it prior to this post:  the paper tag from a tea bag!

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“There is no greater power than the power of the word.”  This message is doubly appropriate when considering that Lord was a prominent scholar in oral composition and performance and this book in particular is about epic poetry and oral tradition.  A more fitting message on an impromptu bookmark would definitely be hard to come by.

Stay tuned for the final book in our 12 Days of Christmas in July series tomorrow!

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On the Tenth Day of Christmas in July…

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… we give you ten gems from a Bibliography of Rudyard Kipling.

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“Ten Gems” as in Ten Gems from Kipling, a collection of ten stories from Kipling.  It is featured in an entry in this rather thorough bibliography of the author.

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Interestingly enough, this book was given as a Christmas gift in 1927 from Flora Livingston (the author)  to someone who may have also been a Kipling enthusiast.

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What’s also interesting about this book is the gilt top edge.  While very pretty and eye-catching in itself, gilding the pages of a book (applying gold powder or leaf, or in some cases gold-colored paint to the edges of the page and sometimes the covers and spine as well) serves a practical purpose too.  When the gold powder is applied with glue it helps to protect the pages from dust, moisture, and browning.

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Pretty and practical.  Check back tomorrow for more pretty and practical gift books in our 12 Days of Christmas in July series.

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On the Ninth Day of Christmas in July…

… we give you this edition of Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales.  (No nines in this one, it was a really hard day to find a book to fit…)

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Given to Bertie in 1884, this volume contains the collected works of Andersen’s fairy tales, including the ever popular “The Little Mermaid.”

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Many other stories also have illustrations to go with them, like this one from “The Snow Man” about a snowman that melts in the sun.  Much like one would if it were outside in today’s mid-July weather.

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If you’re melting in the heat today, come visit us in the cool air-conditioning of the library!  And check back tomorrow for Day Ten of the Twelve Days of Christmas in July series.

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