home Resources and Services New Book: Treasures of the Ukraine: A Nation’s Cultural Heritage

New Book: Treasures of the Ukraine: A Nation’s Cultural Heritage

Ellis Library has acquired the book “Treasures of Ukraine: A Nation’s Cultural Heritage.” All profits are donated to PEN Ukraine,”a cultural and human rights non-governmental organization uniting Ukrainian journalists, writers, scientists, publishers, translators, human rights activists.” Call number N7255.U47 T74 2022.

“Treasures of Ukraine” celebrates art and monuments from Ukraine, showing more than one hundred objects and buildings. The information and objects range from the prehistoric era to contemporary art with a special chapter on folk art.

One of the most popular and interesting types of folk art is pysanky, the art of decorating eggs. A small hole is drilled into an egg to drain the contents, and they are then hand decorated using a wax resist tool known as a kistka, which allows the artist to “write” with wax. The egg is dipped in dye and drawn on again and again, and the wax is then melted off with a candle to reveal the final design.  These can be simple designs but are often incredibly detailed. This tradition dates back to pre-Christian spring rites.

Ukrainian folk art is also seen in ceramic work, dating back generations.  According to a document from 1834, serf master potters were required to make thousands of creations a year for their wages.  Once serfdom was abolished, potters continued to make their goods to sell at markets. Another popular example of Ukrainian folk art is the vyshyvanka, an embroidered shirt for men and women, often with vastly different designs, based on the artist’s region. A common theme running through Ukrainian folk art is the use of color. Whether seen in embroidery or eggs, the use of bright colors is seen throughout.

“Treasures of Ukraine” is a beautiful book featuring dozens of images of art and monuments, showcasing the best of Ukraine. It’s definitely worth a read (or look!).

Interesting in trying pysanky? Check out this shop!

View contemporary pysanky art on Instagram

View vyshyvanka on Instagram

home Resources and Services 100 Years After His Discovery, King Tut and His Tomb Remain Shrouded in Mystery

100 Years After His Discovery, King Tut and His Tomb Remain Shrouded in Mystery

To read more about King Tut, the discovery of his tomb, and the Grand Egyptian Museum, please check out the library’s November 5, 2022, copy of New Scientist and the November 2022 issue of National Geographic both available in the current journals/periodicals section on the 1st floor of Ellis Library.

Amongst the myriad of anniversaries around the world, there is a 100 year anniversary you may not be aware of: the discovery of the tomb of King Tutankhamun.  While this was an invaluable discovery, the mysteries surrounding the tomb and those who found it continue today.

Most of us learned about King Tut in school, yet little has been written about the boy king, who died in his late teens.  Instead, it’s the artifacts found within the tomb that have led to the discovery of many aspects of his life.   Much of Egypt’s past was brought to life through King Tut’s burial, including clues about trade routes around the Nile, the incredible wealth of Egypt’s 18th dynasty, and how kings were buried in Egypt.

This last discovery was a surprise to many, who were unaware of the extravagant burial traditions of the Egyptians.  Tutankhamun was buried with a mask made of gold, glass, and semi-precious stones. Life-size statues guarded his burial chamber.  These were vessels designed to allow the pharaoh’s ka, or life force, to inhabit them in the afterlife. More than 200 pieces of jewelry were found, along with golden beds, chariots, a golden throne, and a massive sarcophagus containing three nesting coffins, all showing King Tut with the curving beard we’ve seen in pictures, in the likeness of Osiris, the god of the dead.  Guardians wrap the coffins in their protective wings, and the mummy itself was found in the innermost coffin, made of 243 pounds of solid gold.  Though over 5,400 objects were found throughout four separate rooms, King Tut’s tomb was considered small by most standards, but was filled with everything you would typically see in this society, who wished him to have whatever he needed to live like a king for all eternity.

Simply cataloging and discussing the artifacts in the tomb could (and have) filled books, but what has fascinated people throughout the years are the mysteries surrounding the tomb.

The first is the “Curse of the Pharaohs,” which is allegedly cast on anyone who disturbs the mummy of an ancient Egyptian. Though there have been tales of curses going back to the 19th century, but after the tomb of King Tut was opened, the stories multiplied based on the misfortune of several members of the excavation team.  The number of people who visited the tomb, as well as the number of people who died suspiciously, varies, but the most famous is that of Lord Carnarvon, the sponsor of the dig, who died five months after the discovery of an infected mosquito bite.  One man died of pneumonia in 1923, another died soon after x-raying the mummy in London, another died by suicide in 1924, and Carter’s personal secretary died in 1929. Another man was allegedly given a gift from the tomb and his house burned down shortly after. Other deaths have been attributed to the “curse,” but one who thought it was all ridiculous was Howard Carter, the man who led the dig.  Carter died of cancer 17 years after the excavation and never believed in the curse, but the lore surrounding it has continued, with some thinking that a specific mold or bacteria could have led to some deaths, leading doctors to conduct actual studies regarding the statistics of deaths and illnesses vs those who were just fine, and have found no correlation between the tomb and the misfortune of those unlucky few.  But everyone likes a good story, and the curse story has only grown, prompting the creation of several books and movies.

A second mystery concerns a dagger found in the tomb.  When examining the bindings of the mummy, Carter found a dagger that seemed out of place.  The sheath was gold, as was common, but the blade was iron, a metal that was smelted in Egypt until centuries after Tutankhamun’s death.  How did it end up there?  For years, people assumed the dagger was imported from some far away place, or perhaps gifted by a diplomat from a foreign country.  However, we now have the technology to study the dagger. In 2016, it was confirmed that the iron originated from much further away than previously thought, and contained high levels of nickel associated with meteoric iron, meaning that to the Egyptians who wrapped it close to the pharaoh’s body, it was a gift from the gods. While this discovery is significant, more important is the fact that in the current study of archaeological finds, the mummy would not have been unwrapped to pull the dagger out and catalog it – instead, scientists can now use x-rays and CT scanners to create 3D images of what is contained inside the mummy, even 3D printing replicas of the internal structure.  King Tut’s mummy was scheduled to go on an international touring exhibition in 2010, but was deemed to fragile, so the curators were able to print a realistic replica of the pharaoh.

The final mystery is one that has been studied since the tomb was found – how did the young king die? Often depicted with a staff, many have thought that King Tut had scoliosis and/or a club foot.  In 1968, Tut was x-rayed for a documentary and was found to have evidence of a blow to the head, leading to multiple murder theories, but it turns out that the scan was simply showing something that wasn’t really there.  In 2005, a CT scan showed that the pharaoh’s left femur was broken, leading to the theory that he fell in a chariot accident, but others have argued that the CT scans cannot distinguish between a pre-mortem and post-mortem injury. In 2010, there an attempt to extract DNA from the bones and reported that the king had malaria, his parents were siblings, and he had a club foot, which paints the king as inbred and infirm, but this DNA discovery has been challenged as well – extracting DNA from a mummy’s bones isn’t an exact science, and contamination is a real concern based on how much the mummy has been through over the years.  Other recent speculations include the idea that Tutankhamun had epilepsy or was killed by a hippo.  Though technology is helpful, there is still much speculation regarding King Tutankhamun.

So the world has speculated and argued over the pharaoh and his cause of death, opened his tomb and extracted the treasures inside, and even taken him on trips around the world. This is perhaps not what the Egyptians would have liked when we think of the burial he received, but we can start to show more respect now: using CT scans rather than simply pulling out treasures and undoing the bandaging process; the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum, where many of the objects from the tomb will be displayed for the first time, and in the rightful country of ownership; and learning that, despite all the wealth in that tomb, the king may have led a very short life without much happiness, that before he became the famous King Tutankhamen, he was born Tutankhaten (living image of Atun), had to ascend to the throne at only 8 or 9-years-old after his radical father died, was pressured to return to the old ways of of the Egyptian gods and even changing his name to “Tutankhamen,” (living image of Amun), wed to a woman who was likely his half sister, died suddenly, and was sadly buried with his two stillborn daughters. More than anything, his legacy lives on in the way it changed the work of archaeologists, made scientists use technology in new, more careful ways; and introduced a world to Egyptology and a culture that many would have never discovered.

Other resources for this writing include:

“King Tut Tomb Curse”
“Ten Things to Know About the Discovery of King Tut’s Tomb”

“The Mummy’s Curse: Historical Cohort Study”

home Resources and Services New Book Highlight: Pandora’s Jar – Women in the Greek Myths by Natalie Haynes

New Book Highlight: Pandora’s Jar – Women in the Greek Myths by Natalie Haynes

We’ve added Pandora’s Jar: Women in the Greek Myths to our collection.

Perhaps best known for her fictional novel A Thousand Ships, which was a national bestseller, Natalie Haynes has also written and recorded seven series of Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics for the BBC, amongst other books and articles.  Everyone is encouraged to read A Thousand Ships, which is a fantastic retelling of the story of the Trojan War from the point of view of the women involved, including those often forgotten by other writings, but her newest nonfiction book is another must-read.

Natalie Haynes, described as a “broadcaster, writer, and passionate classicist,” by her publisher, has published a new nonfiction book about the Greek myths.  Most people have heard the classic tales of Heracles/Hercules, Zeus, and Achilles, fewer know the stories of Clytemnestra, Jocasta, Antigone, Medea, and even Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena.  The simple reason is that most of the books written about these tales come from stories first told thousands of years ago, which focused on the male heroes in the stories, bypassing the powerful women who are also part of the mythos.  Haynes tries to correct this in her fictional novel A Thousand Ships about the Trojan War, but now broadens her reach beyond that saga, including four total: the Trojan War, the Royal House of Thebes, Jason and the Argonauts, and Heracles, but gives the women of these myths a powerful voice so the reader can learn about all the people involved.  Often overlooked, this feminist retelling is an important discussion (and correction) about women in classical myths, whose stories are just as interesting as the “heroes” of these sagas.

This book is a refreshing take for anyone who has learned about Greek mythology in school, read the books, and seen the movies, and wants a new look at the same tales.  Described as a comedian as well as a writer, Natalie Haynes’s work is a fun read, interesting to even those who shy away from nonfiction.

Recommendations for other books and movies about Greek mythology:

Books: Circe by Madeline Miller ; Mythos: the Greek Myths Reimagined by Stephen Fry ; The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller  ; The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson & the Olympians, book 1) for YA fans ; Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe (for graphic novel fans)

Movies: Clash of the Titans (the original); Jason and the ArgonautsWonder WomanTroy

home Ellis Library, Resources and Services Hidden Gems @ the Library: Rural Missouri

Hidden Gems @ the Library: Rural Missouri

Rural Missouri magazine was started in 1948. It’s the statewide publication of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. Issues are released monthly to more than 500,000 members of Missouri’s electric co-ops. The magazine features interesting businesses and people, as well as interesting places to visit.

The current issue of Rural Missouri is located in the North Colonnade of Ellis Library. Back editions are available at the State Historical Society, as well as online at http://www.ruralmissouri.org/archives.php.

The current issue of Rural Missouri features a spread on the interesting items you can now check out at various Missouri libraries, as well as unique events taking place. Libraries aren’t just for books anymore, and the examples in this issue prove that in abundance! Some of the items available or loan include a telescope, superhero cake pans, American Girl dolls, and fishing poles. Some of these libraries are also giving away free items! Adair County Public Library in Kirksville allows people to take 10 seed packets home, using seeds donated from various seed companies and exchanges, in addition to handouts with information on gardening. In May, that same library hosted a comic book day and gave away stacks of comics. Libraries are also hosting Bingo nights, adopt-a-pet fairs, and star-gazing parties, to name a few. Be sure to check out interesting events and items at your local library!

For example, here at Ellis Library, if you need earplugs, you can find them in a vending machine on the first floor; if it’s raining, you can borrow an umbrella; a tripod if you want to take some pictures; as well as various electronics, including chargers for phones and laptops. In the last year, Ellis has perfected its Digital Media Lab, with a recording booth, a 3D scanner, and a green screen, all available by appointment: http://libraryguides.missouri.edu/dmc.

home Databases & Electronic Resources, Ellis Library Hidden Gems @ the Library: The Architectural Review

Hidden Gems @ the Library: The Architectural Review

The Architectural Review is “a curated selection of the best architectural ideas in the world to inspire your mind and feed your soul,” as described on their website.  This magazine is a monthly international architectural magazine, which has been published in London since 1896.  It features a collection of significant buildings from around the world, accompanied by critiques, photography, drawings, and technical details.  The Architectural Review also includes commentary that focuses on the history of the buildings, the social impact, and the reasons why certain choices were made.

MU Ellis Library has been collecting the magazine since 1896.  Online access is available for issues after 5/1/1993 and can be accessed here: https://bit.ly/2UIkIWp.  Paper copies are available from 1896-present.  To view the records, please click here: http://merlin.lib.umsystem.edu/record=b1878198.

The December 2018/January 2019 naturally caught our eye because it is the library issue, which features books and buildings, “with pieces exploring the architecture and influence of books as well as libraries and archives from across the world, including the winner of the AR Library awards.”

Their digital content is updated daily and can be viewed at https://www.architectural-review.com/.

home Cycle of Success, Ellis Library Two Student Employees Help Preserve Ellis Library’s Collection

Two Student Employees Help Preserve Ellis Library’s Collection

Behind the scenes at the University Libraries, there are quite a few things that go into making a book shelf-ready. Occasionally, the physical processing department, in the ground floor of Ellis Library, has to repair books before they can go on (or back on) the shelves for users to check out.

Thankfully, physical processing is staffed with employees who want to teach, and great students who are eager to learn. The physical processing staff is now able to hand more and more work over to dedicated students, giving the students great experience, and freeing up the employees for other projects, such as conservation and preservation.

Two such students are Lydia Dysart and Megan Potter, both student employees in the physical processing department. As you can see from the “before” photo, books often come to physical processing looking . . . less than great. But as you see from the “after” photo, a lot can be done to fix a book. From start to finish, these students were able to complete the project.

When a book is in poor shape, you can’t simply glue it back together. The books that are repaired rarely look like they have been repaired (see the “after” photo) thanks to detailed work. When walking around the physical processing work space, you will see streamers hanging from the wall in all different shades.  This is paper used to repair the books, and they want the repair to match the book as closely as possible. It’s intricate work that takes training and detail-oriented people. Thankfully, both Lydia and Megan were up to the task.

As you can see in the before and after pictures, the students have to fix breaks in the book block using rice paper. Then they replace the spine, and, lastly, consolidate and repair the covers. Lydia and Megan did all the spine and cover repairs in the finished repair pictures.

We all appreciate the students who work at University Libraries, and are happy to be able shine a spotlight on some great work!  Thank you, Lydia and Megan, for helping to preserve our library’s collection!

home Uncategorized Journal Spotlight: The New York Review of Books

Journal Spotlight: The New York Review of Books

The New York Review of Books is technically a magazine, but comes under the guise of a bound, awkward newspaper you can’t fold.  But if something’s ain’t broke, why fix it?  And the NYRB has been publishing its semi-monthly magazines since 1963.

What’s most interesting about the NYRB isn’t necessarily its longevity (though that is impressive, especially considering the demise of paper journals), but its very content.  The title is somewhat misleading, as the magazine doesn’t focus solely on books, but contains articles on everything from current affairs to literature to science.  They also include essays and reviews, as well as original works by well-known writers.  This was the goal of the magazine’s founders: they wanted to publish a magazine featuring “the unusual, the difficult, the lengthy, the intransigent, and above all, the interesting.”  The early editors also wanted the Review to “be interested in everything…no subject would be excluded.  Someone is writing a piece about Nascar racing for us; another is working on Veronese.”  There is literally something for everyone in this magazine.  The magazine eventually expanded into book publishing, and you can buy books on their site.  The publishing side is also unique, printing translations of works previously unavailable in English, and, in the case of its Children’s Collection, reintroducing books that are no longer be printed or have fallen off the radar.

One downside to the magazine is its price, which is $79.95 per year.  It’s not exorbitant by any means, considering the material, but may be out of reach for many of us.  Thankfully, you can take a look at the New York Review of Books, the New York Book Review, and the London Review of Books in the Colonnade in Ellis Library with other newspapers and journals near the display cases.

For a preview of the kinds of content they run, you can check out a great short story by Ian McEwan, available free on their website: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/07/19/dussel/.

home Databases & Electronic Resources, Resources and Services University Libraries Provide Resource for Suicide Prevention Student Group

University Libraries Provide Resource for Suicide Prevention Student Group

Here is a terrifying statistic: suicide is the second-leading cause of death among 10 to 34-year-olds*. According to the CDC, in the United States, someone takes their own life every 12.3 minutes. That’s over 44,000 people lost to suicide annually. The Mizzou Student Suicide Prevention Coalition (MSSPC) is working to change those statistics.

MSSPC is “a student organization at Mizzou founded to bring people of all backgrounds together to raise awareness for suicide prevention methods.”  Zach Lahr, the president of the organization, contacted Corrie Hutchinson, our Associate University Librarian for Acquisitions, Collections, and Technical Services, to ask for help procuring a license for a documentary, The S Word, for their week of action in April. The S Word is about a “suicide attempt survivor on a mission to find fellow survivors and document their stories of courage, insight and humor.  Along the way, she discovers a rising national movement transforming personal struggles into action.”

This documentary is especially important as it includes interviews from a diverse group of people, including a veteran and members of the LGBTQ community, to show that this is a national problem that encompasses all populations.

Suicide is a difficult topic to address, and MSSPC wanted a streaming license for this documentary so that students on the MU campus would have the opportunity to view it.Hutchinson was not only able to procure the streaming rights in time to stream the video, but was able to find the library funding to purchase the video. Because of this, students who weren’t able to attend screenings can now view it on their own, with others, or even in various courses.

To view this documentary on campus, stream here: http://proxy.mul.missouri.edu/login?url=https://missouri.mediaspace.kaltura.com/media/t/0_yur6xt37.  If MU students would like to view this off-campus, they can click here: http://merlin.mobius.umsystem.edu/record=b12278488~S8.

For more information on MSSPC, you can visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mizzousuicidepreventioncoalition/, as well as on their Twitter and Instagram accounts: @MizzouSSPC.

For more information on suicide, suicide prevention, and to get help, please visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.

*according to the National Institute of Mental Health https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide.shtml

home Uncategorized Serials Spotlight: History Today

Serials Spotlight: History Today

Today I learned: Benjamin Franklin believed in and researched merpeople

Ellis Library gets a lot of serials. A LOT. If you have an interest in a topic, we have at least one journal/magazine that will interest you, from art to history to footwear. Today’s focus is on History Today, “Britain’s best-loved serious history magazine.”  Not a history buff?  Trust me, you’ll still find something amazing in this journal or on their website (https://www.historytoday.com/) – they even included a spotify list to go with the most recent issue!

The May 2018 edition has a very creepy merperson on the cover, but don’t let that dissuade you. The article, “Diving into Mysterious Waters,” discusses not only the legend of mermaids/mermen, but how some of the most famous and intelligent people in early Europe wholeheartedly agreed that merpeople existed.

You may remember Cotton Mather from history lessons. He was the guy with giant, white hair who was disgustingly enthusiastic about hanging witches during the Salem Witch Trials.  Considering he believed that nonsense, it isn’t a huge surprise that in 1716, he wrote a letter to the Royal Society in London, revealing that he sincerely believed in merpeople.

While we scoff at this admission now, was it really that surprising? Sure, Christopher Columbus believed in merpeople, even claiming to have seen three of them upon arriving in the New World, but when Europeans first landed in North America and saw the opossum for the first time, they compared them centaurs and gorgons because they had never seen a marsupial, let alone one with a grumpy face. There were new discoveries all the time. “The 18th century was as much a time of wonder as it as of rational science: the two, in fact, seemed to interweave by the day.”

It’s not surprising that tales of merpeople existed then, and still exist to this day. Since ancient times, people have worshipped merpeople. Medieval European churches were covered with mermaid symbolism (the theory is that these decorations were a reminder to Christians “of the dangers of the lust for flesh”). Even after religious changes in Europe, when Catholic imagery was erased, merpeople stuck around.

Sightings abounded as well. In 1403, a group of Dutch women apparently found a mermaid and taught her how to wear clothes, take up spinning, and converted her to Christianity.  How a woman who was half fish would wear clothes or exist outside of water is beyond me, but people believed them. Mermaid sightings increased in the 16th and 17th centuries, with the seas abounding with tales of mermaids and their siren calls. The explorer Henry Hudson (of Hudson River fame) noted sightings in his captain’s log. Descriptions of mermaids over time contained the same basic information regarding their looks, until 1759, when the creepy drawing, “The Syren Drawn from Life” was published and freaked everyone out with its big ears, bald head, and “hideously ugly” features.

European cabinets of curiosity began to display “mermaid appendages” and by the end of the 18th century, some of the “smartest men in the western world,” including Benjamin Franklin and other members of the Royal Society, decided to take on the task of trapping and investigating merpeople.  This was a step in the kind of scientific research we continue to use today.  Sure, we may not chase mermaids around, but we do investigate other amazing things, with scientific discoveries happening all the time.  Parallel universes and DNA codes may not sing to sailors and lure them to their death, but the current scientific research is still pretty amazing.

The creepy mermaid drawing vs how people typically imagine mermaids. That picture had to have bummed people out when it was published.











And to prove that not all merpeople conform to the same typical body type, here’s a new discovered species.


home Ellis Library, Resources and Services New Nonfiction: Theft By Finding (Diaries 1977-2002) by David Sedaris

New Nonfiction: Theft By Finding (Diaries 1977-2002) by David Sedaris

Looking for your next summer read? University Libraries are here for you.

David Sedaris is a well-known writer (well, well-known to most people: https://goo.gl/hcFmQY) whose humorous essays tend to focus on his own crazy life in addition to the crazy lives of his family and friends. However, his new work changes things up a bit.

While Sedaris has never been one to hide anything, his honesty reaches new heights in his latest book, “Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002).” The first of two volumes, this diary contains Sedaris’s observations on the world, which is different from most diaries, which contain the introspective thoughts and experiences of the writer. This creates a new kind of reading experience for fans of his previous works, offering a peephole into other people’s lives, and who doesn’t love that? Have you ever had a strange experience with a stranger, overheard a crazy conversation, or come across some hot gossip? While many of us might tell our friends and family, Sedaris told his journal, and now the world. Like many authors, he draws from life for his writing, and records the things around him. But unlike other writers, Sedaris records the little minutiae that some wouldn’t give a second thought. It’s an interesting look into the mind of a writer, and will inspire you to take an extra look/listen to things around you, and, possibly, start a journal of your own.

Check out this book at Ellis Library  or through MOBIUS.