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December 2008 Archives

December 3, 2008

Benjamin Franklin and the Politics of Improvement

Alan Houston
Department of Political Science, University of California, San Diego

Monday, December 8, 4:00 p.m.
Sterling Memorial Library Lecture Hall, 130 Wall Street
Free and open to the public - Reception to follow

Benjamin Franklin and the Politics of Improvement (Yale University Press, 2008) is a comprehensive reinterpretation of Franklin’s social and political thought. For over two centuries Franklin, with his homespun wit, practical intelligence and commitment to thrift and industry, has been cast as “the first American.” Ironically, Franklin’s identification with American traits and values has obscured his intellectual accomplishments. Though Franklin’s practical context was North America, the intellectual world he inhabited was cosmopolitan. Houston will argue that Franklin actively participated in key eighteenth-century debates over the rise of the modern commercial republic. Unlike many of his contemporaries, however, Franklin’s interventions took the form of practical proposals and incidental tracts, not abstract arguments and philosophical analyses. To capture Franklin’s ideas, this study innovates in three ways: it extends the intellectual horizon within which Franklin is located beyond North America to include Great Britain and Europe; it treats Franklin as a public intellectual, consciously contributing to both learned controversies and civic policies; and it pays careful attention to the theoretical significance of Franklin’s practical ideas and actions.

Benjamin Franklin and the Politics of Improvement is part of the Lewis Walpole Series in Eighteenth-Century Culture and History, a series dedicated to the history and culture of the long eighteenth-century, from 1688 to 1837 and published by Yale University Press.

Alan Houston is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego. A graduate of Oberlin College and Harvard University, his research focuses on early-modern political thought in Europe and America. He is the author of Algernon Sidney and the Republican Heritage in England and America (Princeton), and co-editor, with Steve Pincus, of A Nation Transformed: England After the Restoration (Cambridge). He edited a collection of Benjamin Franklin’s political writings for Cambridge University Press and his monograph, Benjamin Franklin and the Politics of Improvement, has just been published by Yale. Houston has been a fellow in the Society of Fellows, Columbia University, and the Center for Human Values, Princeton University. He has also received major fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Philosophical Society.

December 5, 2008

A new Netcast from the Beinecke Library

Steal Not This Book: Collecting and Cataloging the Betsy Beinecke Shirley Collection

The Betsy Beinecke Shirley Collection of Children's Literature, formed over the course of more than three decades, is one of the largest and most diverse collections of its kind. In this podcast, librarian Ellen Ellickson speaks with Tim Young, Curator of Modern Books and Manuscripts, about the collection.

You can listen to and download the podcast free via the Beinecke’s Blogs & Podcasts page and through Yale's iTunesU web site.

December 9, 2008

Extended Hours in Bass Library

The Bass Library will be open for study continuously from 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, December 10 through 11:45 p.m. on Friday, December 12.

Valid Yale ID is required to enter the Library between 6:00 p.m. and 8:30 a.m., and readers are asked to restrict consumption of food to the Thain Family Cafe.

See www.library.yale.edu/hours/ for a full schedule of all library openings during Reading Period.

Gilmore Music Library Displaying Two New Messiaen Manuscripts

The Gilmore Music Library is celebrating the centennial of Olivier Messiaen's brith with a display of two recently acquired items in the composer’s own hand (on exhibit in the Reference Room, Music Library ML 101M). In 1960 Messiaen completed Chronochromie, a large orchestral work based on bird songs, and it was first performed that year at the Donaueschingen festival under the direction of Hans Rosbaud.

In September 1961, shortly after the initial French performance in Besançon, Messiaen sent some corrections to a Monsieur Brück, along with a letter discussing the matter. Chronochromie proved to be one of Messiaen’s most controversial works, and it met with a stormy reception at each of its early performances. The two manuscripts were purchased with income from the Margaret Deakers Waith Fund.

The Yale School of Music is also marking the Messiaen anniversary with a series of concerts and a symposium from December 8 to 14. For more information, see http://www.yale.edu/music/Messiaen.

December 10, 2008

Arabic Cinema Posters


Memorabilia Room, Sterling Memorial Library
128 Wall Street
Free & open to the public

Arab Cinema Posters, on view in the Memorabilia Room, displays a selection of some of the 1,200 movie posters recently acquired by the Near Eastern Collection and housed within Manuscripts and Archives. The first Arabic film was produced in Egypt in 1923 and the Arab world boasts an active and prodigious film industry. Advertising films produced in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq, the colorful and engaging posters offer unique insight on both cinematic and social history in the Arab world.

Word and Image: An Exhibition in Sterling Memorial Library


Word and Image
Sterling Memorial Library Nave
120 High Street
Until March 8, 2009
Free & open to the public

Word and Image has been curated by students in the Yale College seminar Word and Image led by Catherine Labio of the French and Comparative Literature departments. The exhibition examines the relationship between text and image in European, American, and Japanese art and literature. Students have drawn on the many resources of Yale University's libraries and art galleries and designed works of their own to create a theoretical space filled with tension, experimentation and exciting dynamism, where artists and writers from ancient times to the contemporary era interrogate the distinction between drawing and writing, narrative and illustration, reading and seeing.

December 15, 2008

New Netcast: Treasures from the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library Special Collections

Jae Rossman discusses the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library Special Collections, which are composed of materials from the former Art+Architecture and Drama Libraries, as well as the Arts of the Book Collection. These previously separate special collections are now united in the Special Collections Reading Room. Rare and unique, modern and contemporary, published and manuscript materials are gathered together to create a resource that includes both research materials about and examples of the arts.

The netcast is available here or via Yale University on Itunes U.

New Netcast: The Founding Fathers and the American Monarchy

Frank Prochaska, Lecturer in History at Yale University and author of The Eagle and the Crown: Americans and the British Monarchy (Yale University Press, 2008), discusses his new book and argues that America’s Founding Fathers created what Teddy Roosevelt later called an “elective king” in the office of the president, conferring quasi-regal status on the occupant of the Oval Office and his successors.

The netcast is available here or on Yale University on iTunes U.

New Netcast: Library Architecture at Yale

Robert A.M. Stern, J.M. Hoppin Professor and Dean of the Yale School of Architecture, Cesar Pelli of Pelli Clarke Pelli, and Thomas H. Beeby of Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge, discuss the architecture and design of the Yale Libraries during a symposium on November 30, 2007. Both Pelli and Beeby are former Deans of the Yale School of Architecture. Beeby was also the lead architect of the Bass Library (formerly the Cross Campus Library) which opened on October 19. Laura Cruickshank, Yale University Planner, moderated the symposium.

The netcast is available here or on Yale University on iTunes U.

December 18, 2008

New Netcast: Portraits of Painters

Portraits of Painters: Drawings by George Vertue and Horace Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting in England

Curator Cynthia Roman discusses an exhibition now on view at the Lewis Walpole Library, as well as a selection of images featured in the show. The thirty-four portrait drawings by George Vertue (1684-1756) depicting English painters now in the collection of the Lewis Walpole Library were purchased by Wilmarth Sheldon Lewis in 1949. These drawings once formed part of a collection of 470 prints and drawings in two folio volumes from the library of Horace Walpole (1717-1797). In addition to the portraits, Walpole also acquired Vertue’s manuscripts or “Notebooks,” numbering nearly forty volumes, which recorded accounts of the lives of English painters and constituted a major resource for Walpole’s own history of art, Anecdotes of Painting in England. Both Vertue’s “Notebooks” and Walpole’s Anecdotes of Painting remain important resources for the study of the arts in Britain.

The netcast is available free from Yale University on iTunes U and can be found in the Yale Library series. To view the images on your personal or desktop PC, first download the netcast from iTunes and then ensure you activate the "Show or hide item artwork and video viewer" button on the bottom-left side of the iTunes screen while the netcast is playing. You may also click on any image to see a larger version.

December 19, 2008

Holiday and Recess Hours

For information about Library hours over the Holiday and Recess period, visit www.library.yale.edu/hours/.

Best wishes from the University Library for a happy and relaxing Holiday.

Access to Orbis, Borrow Direct, and InterLibrary Loan over the Holiday Recess

Due to a system upgrade, a search-only version of Orbis, the Library’s online catalog, will be in temporary use from December 28, 2008 through January 2, 2009. Readers will not be able to access saved searches, place requests, or view account information during this short period.

Access to Borrow Direct (BD) for searching and requesting will also be limited because of several system upgrades. BD will be unavailable on: Tuesday, December 23 from 2:00 p.m. until later that evening; the morning of Friday, December 26 until the morning of Sunday, December 28; and Monday, December 29 through Thursday, January 1, 2009.

BD will be available on Wednesday, December 24, Thursday, December 25, and Friday, January 2, 2009.

Borrow Direct books on the Bass Library hold shelf by Tuesday, December 23, can be picked up on recess days when Bass is open. Pickup at the other Borrow Direct locations will be available only if the location is open during the holiday recess.

InterLibrary Loan (ILL) services will be closed from Wednesday, December 24 through Thursday, January 1, 2009. During that time, readers may continue to submit requests, but they will not be processed until staff return to work on January 2. Incoming shipments of previously requested book also will resume on January 2.

ILL books on the Bass Library hold shelf by Tuesday, December 23, can be picked up on recess days when Bass is open. Pickup at other ILL locations will be available only if the location is open during the holiday break. Please consult location-specific web pages for detailed schedule information.

The Library apologies for any inconvenience.