From the Collections of Harvard College Library, Events and Exhibitions 2014

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The Waghenaer, Du miroir de la navigation, 1590.

Beacons of the Water World:
The Evolution of the Sea Chart
For much of human history the most efficient and least cumbersome way to cover long distances and transport goods was on water. Yet navigation—whether by canoe, galley, caravel, ketch, or schooner—was never without its hazards. Survival often depended upon detailed information gathered orally from seasoned mariners or from written instructions compiled from numerous logs of voyages into unfamiliar seas. By the late 16th century, the expansion of trade within Europe and the increasing pace of exploration abroad created an urgent need for reliable accounts and accurate surveys of new navigational routes. This exhibit investigates the evolution of sea charts—from pilot books with a focus on European waters to multi-volume atlases ranging the great seas of the world. It surveys the major chartmakers of northern Europe, with attention to the development of a common symbolic language for depicting navigational hazards and aids.

Map Gallery Hall, Pusey Library
Hours

For more information please call 617-495-2417.

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The Treasure Room, Widener Library in 1915.
Harvard University Archives, HUV-49, folder 4.

The Treasure Room
One hundred years ago visitors to the newly dedicated Memorial Rooms in Widener Library would have first passed by the Treasure Room in the marble entrance lobby. The Treasure Room housed Harvard’s most valued collections, mounted frequent exhibitions, and supported the research of faculty and scholars. This exhibition provides a brief history of a long forgotten library space, the nucleus of what would later become Houghton Library. Photographs, documents, letters, and other objects, such as the only book believed to have survived from John Harvard’s library, are on view, drawn from the collections of the Harvard University Archives and Houghton Library.

Amy Lowell Room, Houghton Library
Hours

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Replicas of a minstrel banjo and a banza,
an African stringed precursor to the banjo

Unmasking Jim Crow: Blackface Minstrelsy in American Popular Culture
Blackface minstrelsy was wildly popular in 19th-century America. In minstrel performances, entertainers darkened their skin with burnt cork to enact gross caricatures of people of African descent. American slavery, segregation, and racial violence have depended upon the notions of black inferiority that minstrelsy embodied. This exhibit, curated by students in a Harvard seminar, contemplates the history of minstrelsy. It explores a tradition that has receded from public memory, even though traces remain deeply entrenched in American culture. Minstrelsy brims with paradoxes, and it has thrived on the normalization of shocking racist images.

Initially popularized in the 1830s with a character named Jim Crow, blackface minstrelsy was heralded as the young nation’s first original contribution to the performing arts, and it initially appealed to audiences of working-class white men. The image of Jim Crow, disseminated through countless illustrations and performances, ultimately became one of the most damaging in U.S. history. By the middle of the 19th century, minstrelsy had expanded beyond racial themes. Performers mocked immigrants, impersonated women in so-called “wench shows,” and parodied European operas. Audiences grew to include members of the middle class, as well as women and children. Publishers eager to capitalize on minstrelsy’s extreme popularity sold sheet music for home performance. After Emancipation, minstrelsy provided a primary means for black performers to find work, adding a new layer of complexity to its racial meaning. In the 20th and 21st centuries, minstrelsy’s influence lingers on in film, television, jazz, rock, and hip-hop.

This exhibit represents a collaboration with the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library and the Harvard Theatre Collection, which houses one of the world’s most important archives of minstrel materials. It is supported by grants from the Elson Family Arts Initiative Fund and the Provostial Fund for the Arts and Humanities.

As a seminar, we have been deeply disturbed by studying the materials on display here, all of us sobered by the troubling history they reveal. Yet we believe that historical traumas should not be buried from view, especially when they continue to resonate in today’s world.

Richard F. French Gallery, Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library
Hours
For additional information, please contact Sarah Adams at sjadams@fas.harvard.edu or call 617-495-2794.

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Lilly, William, 1602-1681. The starry messenger;
or, An interpretation of that strange apparition
of three suns seene in London, 19. Novem. 1644. being the birth day of King Charles. London, 1645. *EC65.L6288.B652t

Starry Messengers:
Signs and Science from the Skies
Throughout the ages, we have looked to the night sky in a search for meaning. Comets, meteors, eclipses, and other celestial events have been used by scientists to better understand the physical universe, by sages to predict the future, and by writers seeking inspiration. Starry Messengers brings together books and manuscripts from Houghton's collections that demonstrate how these events were understood in the early modern world.

Important Update: Due to inclement weather, the exhibition's opening reception, originally scheduled for Tuesday, February 10, has been temporarily postponed. Please check back for rescheduling updates in the coming days.

Edison and Newman Room, Houghton Library
Hours
For additional information, please contact John Overholt at Overholt@fas.harvard.edu or call 617-495-2439 or 617-495-2441

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The Woman Working, Jerusalem, Israel, by Hannah Nunez. Let's Go Special Prize for the best photo by a student working for Let's Go.

The Woman Working, Jerusalem, Israel, by Hannah Nunez. Let's Go Special Prize for the best photo by a student working for Let's Go.

Harvard College
Annual International Photo Contest

Photos taken by Harvard students who have studied, worked, interned, or done research abroad during the past year are on exhibit. For more information on the contest, see the photo contest page.


Level B, first and third floor display cases,
Lamont Library (Hours)
For details contact Lynn Sayers at 617-495-2455

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1933 Goudey Baseball card no. 118 (Valentine J. (Val) Picinich, Brooklyn Dodgers)

1933 Goudey Baseball card no. 118
(Valentine J. (Val) Picinich, Brooklyn Dodgers)

2014 Philip Hofer Prize for Collecting Books or Art
The Philip Hofer prize is awarded each year to a student at Harvard whose collection of books or works of art best exemplifies the traditions of breadth, coherence, and imagination represented by Philip Hofer, A.B. '21, L.H.D. '67, founder and first Curator of the Department of Printing and Graphic Arts in the Houghton Library and Secretary of the Fogg Art Museum. The prize, which is to encourage student interest in collecting, was established in 1987 by Melvin R. Seiden, A.B. '52, L.L.B. '55. Students competing for the prize submit an annotated list or bibliography and an essay describing the scope, contents, and goal of the collection. On exhibition are samples of this year's first prize winning collection, , A History of the 1933 Goudey Baseball Card Set: From Artwork to Copyright Registration, submitted by Benjamin Lee, Class of 2017.

Third floor display cases, Lamont Library,
Hours
For details, contact Lynn Sayers at 617-495-2455

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2014 Undergraduate Book Collectiong Prize

Hedin, Sven. Central Asia and Tibet: Towards
the Holy City of Lassa
. Vol. II. 1st ed. London: Hurst and
Blackett, Ltd., 1903. Illustration “Shagdur, the Author,

and Shereb Lama in Pilgrim Attire,” page 311.

2014 Undergraduate Book Collecting Prize
Established in 1977, the Visiting Committee Prize for Undergraduate Book Collecting recognizes and encourages book collecting by undergraduates at Harvard. Students competing for the annual prize submit an annotated bibliography and an essay on their collecting efforts, the influence of mentors, the experience of searching for, organizing and caring for items, and the future direction of the collection. On display are samplings of the collections of this year's prize-winning entries, along with personal commentary.


Second and third floor display cases, Lamont Library
Hours
For details, contact Lynn Sayers at 617-495-2455

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1933 Goudey Baseball card no. 118 (Valentine J. (Val) Picinich, Brooklyn Dodgers)

Sir John Tenniel. Studies for illustrations for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, ca. 1864.

Houghton Library, MS Eng 718.6 (3). Gift of
Mrs. Harcourt Amory, 1927.

Such a curious dream!
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at 150

This exhibition will feature unique, colorful and curious Carrolliana from the early 1860s to the present. Drawn largely from the fabulous collection compiled by Harvard alumnus Harcourt Amory, the exhibition will include original drawings by illustrator John Tenniel, foreign editions of the book, parodies, theatrical works and ephemera. Not to be missed: Alice Liddell’s own copy of the suppressed first edition.

Edison and Newman Room, Houghton Library
Hours

Lectures

Donne, John, 1572-1631. Letter to Sir Nicolas Carew

Donne, John, 1572-1631. Letter to Sir Nicolas Carew, 1625 June 21. Houghton Library, MS Eng 1290

The Harvard University Committee on Medieval Studies and Houghton Library, together with the Center for the History of Medicine, Countway Library, an alliance between the Boston Medical Library and the Harvard Medical Library, proudly present:

Unlocking the Secrets of John Donne’s Letters;
Presented by Jana Dambrogio, MIT Libraries and
Dr. Daniel Smith, Lincoln College, University of Oxford

Workshop: Monday, February 23, 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
Houghton Library Seminar Room
To register for the workshop, please contact John Overholt at Overholt@fas.harvard.edu

Learn to letterlock with paper –to fold and secure letters as people did before (and after) the invention of the envelope. Letterlocking with paper is part of a longer and larger information security tradition and has been used since the Middle Ages by artists, literary authors, poets, regents, scientists, soldiers, spymasters, and the general public.

Lecture/Reception: Monday, February 23, 5:30 p.m.- 6:30 p.m.
Edison and Newman Room, Houghton Library
No R.S.V.P. necessary

This lecture will reveal the secrets of letterlocking, and discuss the implications of re-sealing the letters of 17th-century poet and preacher John Donne. Two of John Donne’s manuscripts will be on display

Houghton Library, MS Fr 124, f. 1r

Houghton Library, MS Fr 124, f. 1r

The Harvard University Committee on Medieval Studies and Houghton Library, together with the Center for the History of Medicine, Countway Library, an alliance between the Boston Medical Library and the Harvard Medical Library, proudly present:

“Reconstructing Medieval Medical Libraries: Between the Codex and the Computer”
By Monica H. Green, Arizona State University

Lecture: Tuesday, February 24, 5:30 p.m.
Edison and Newman Room, Houghton Library
No R.S.V.P. necessary

Workshops:  Thursday, February 26, 10:00 a.m.-12 p.m. or 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Francis Countway Medical Library, Lahey Room – 5th Floor

Workshop space is limited, so please contact Monique Duhaime at Duhaime@fas.harvard.edu to sign up, and please be sure to indicate which session you are interested in attending.

Of all the material objects that contributed to the world of medicine and medical care in the Middle Ages, those surviving in largest quantities today are the books that embodied medical knowledge. But even these are orphans, bereft of the contexts in which they circulated alongside other books. In these presentations, we will reconstruct the intellectual worlds of three European physicians between the 12th and 15th centuries. By placing physical books in Harvard’s collections alongside their digital avatars held at other libraries around the world, we can begin to see how the intellectual cultures of medicine in medieval Europe expanded and interconnected, moving across boundaries of time, language, and religious culture.


T.S. Eliot. Prufrock and Other Observations

T.S. Eliot. Prufrock and Other Observations. London: The Egoist Ltd., 1917. Houghton Library, Lowell *AC9 Eℓ464 917p

Please join us for the 102nd George Parker Winship Lecture:

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock:
“the Muse in a psychopathic ward”
By Sir Christopher Ricks

Wednesday, April 8, 5:30 p.m.
Edison and Newman Room, Houghton Library

Sir Christopher Ricks is William M. and Sara B. Warren Professor of the Humanities, and Co-Director, Editorial Institute, Boston University

Sponsored by Houghton Library, the Harvard English Department and the Woodberry Poetry Room

 

 

T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot, 1933. Acme News, photographer. Houghton Library, MS Am 2560 (182)

Please join us for the 103rd George Parker Winship Lecture:

Was T.S. Eliot Ever Young?
By Professor Robert Crawford

Thursday, April 23, 5:30 p.m.
Edison and Newman Room, Houghton Library
No R.S.V.P. necessary

Robert Crawford is a poet, Professor of English, and Director of Research for Planning, Publications, and Grants at University of St. Andrews

Co-sponsored by Houghton Library and the Harvard English Department

Continuing Exhibitions

Mercator Globes
Exhibition includes Gerard Mercator's terrestrial (1541) and celestial (1551) globes that reflect new discoveries in world geography and cosmography as well as new techniques in charting, printing, and globe making. Only 22 matched pairs survive, Harvard's being the only matched pair in America.

Mercator Case, Map Gallery Hall
Hours
For details call the Map Collection at 617-495-2417