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April 7, 2010

Today: Sustainable Stewardship Lecture

James M. Reilly, Director of the Image Permanence Institute at the Rochester Institute of Technology, will deliver the Yale University Library’s inaugural preservation lecture on Wednesday, April 7 at 6:00 p.m. in the Sterling Memorial Library Lecture Hall (128 Wall Street). The title of Reilly’s talk is “Sustainable Stewardship: The New Thinking, Preservation Environments and Building Operations.” A reception will follow.

Reilly is an expert on the effects of temperature and humidity on library, archival, and museum collections; the deterioration of 19th-century photographic prints; environmental monitoring and control; the management of film archives; and the major causes of image deterioration. He is the co-director of the Advanced Residency Program in Photograph Conservation at George Eastman House and in 1998 he received a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The lecture series is being organized by the Yale University Library’s Preservation Department, which is responsible for the long-term care of the rich and unique record of human thought and creativity held by the Yale Library. The Department’s activities include education, outreach, research, repair, conservation, and reformatting of collections in all media.

A gift from Paul Schott Stevens, Class of 1974 and a member of the University Librarian’s Development Council, helped establish the series.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information on the lecture, contact Roberta Pilette at (203) 432-1714 or roberta.pilette@yale.edu.

April 13, 2010

Library Senior Essay Forums

Each year hundreds of senior essay writers embark on a research process in preparation for their senior essay. The students work closely with faculty, librarians, writing tutors, and others on campus as they work on their Senior Essays. This forum, structured as a panel discussion, will feature several senior essay writers talking about their research process.

The goal of these forums is to give juniors, faculty, and others on campus who support student research and writing a chance to hear how senior essay writers do the following: 1) formulate their research interest and questions; 2) seek help from the library, museums & special collections, faculty and other support units on campus; 3) find resources to support their argument; and 4) carry out the research process to complete the senior essay. These forums will offer insights for improving services and support for student research. Additionally, they will give seniors an opportunity to enter the scholarly communication cycle through the sharing of their research and engaging in dialog about their projects.

The forum will be held twice this spring:

Tuesday April 20, 11:00am - 12:00pm
Students from History of Art, Political Science, and History

Wednesday April 21, 4:00 - 5:00pm
Students from History, Computer Science, Political Science, and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

The discussions will be in held in the Sterling Memorial Library, Lecture Hall. For more information, contact Barbara Rockenbach.

Yale University Acquires Photographer Lee Friedlander’s Archive and Master Prints

The Yale University Art Gallery and Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library together have acquired the Lee Friedlander Archive, which includes 2,000 of the photographer’s master prints as well as negatives, working prints, letters, books and other articles cataloging his creative process and output.

With this acquisition, Yale University becomes home to the largest archive of material produced by one of America’s most celebrated and prolific photographers.

“We have been particularly pleased to work so closely with the Beinecke Library to secure this monumental acquisition,” notes Jock Reynolds, the Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery. “Together, the Friedlander Archive and master prints form an unmatched resource for those interested in the life and work of one of photography’s most ambitious masters.”

Selected from Friedlander’s past two decades of work, the master prints—1,800 of which will reside at the Yale Art Gallery—include examples of every image published in Friedlander’s monographs of new work since 1996. The archive, housed at the Beinecke along with a smaller group of master prints of Western landscapes, includes all of the photographer’s negatives, contact sheets, journals, monographs, correspondence, books featuring his images and preliminary work prints corresponding to Yale’s master prints.

Born in 1934 in Aberdeen, Washington, Friedlander began his deep engagement with photography as a teenager. He studied photography at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and moved to New York in the mid-1950s to begin his career taking portraits of jazz musicians for record covers. In the 1960s, he emerged as one of the leading “street” photographers of his time, influenced by such pioneers of the genre as Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Eugène Atget and Garry Winogrand. His signature black-and-white images from this period often explore social and cultural subjects through their reflection on shiny surfaces—storefront windows, rear-view car mirrors and TV screens, among them— and helped to broaden public appreciation of the compelling power of photography as an art form.

Since 1970, Friedlander has also directed his creative energies to the printed page, conceiving and supervising the production of over 30 distinct monographs to date.

Among other honors, he has been the recipient of multiple Guggenheim Fellowships, a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography. Friedlander received an honorary doctorate from Yale in 2004, and his work was the subject of a major traveling retrospective organized by the Museum of Modern Art in 2005.

“Friedlander’s pictures from the past two decades playfully exploit the medium’s still-thrilling ability to create fresh and unexpected relationships out of the things we see every day,” observes Joshua Chuang, the Yale Art Gallery’s assistant curator of photographs. “Even if you think you’ve seen it all, they make it easy to become ecstatic about the possibilities of photography all over again.”

At the core of the Beinecke’s Friedlander Archive are more than 40,000 rolls of film and associated contact sheets representing the artist’s creative output since the mid-1950s, including his wide-ranging portrait, landscape and still-life work. Also included are a vast array of the photographer’s preliminary explorations in the darkroom, materials that demonstrate the artist’s rigorous editing and proofing process from negative to finished print.

“We are excited that Friedlander’s work will join the library’s extensive collections of works by American photographers, including Carleton Watkins, Timothy O’Sullivan, Alfred Stieglitz, Carl Van Vechten, David Plowden, Carl Mydans, and Eve Arnold, and pleased that we could collaborate with the gallery to create an unprecedented resource for scholarship about one of America’s foremost visual artists,” notes George Miles, the William Robertson Coe Curator of the Collection of Western Americana at the Beinecke Library.

Founded in 1832, the Yale University Art Gallery has more than 185,000 objects in its collections, spanning the globe and ranging in date from ancient times to the present. In addition to its celebrated collections of American paintings and decorative arts, the gallery is noted for its important holdings of Greek and Roman art, early Italian paintings, later European art, Asian art, African art, art of the ancient Americas, and Impressionist, modern and contemporary works.

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library is Yale University's principal repository for literary papers and for early manuscripts and rare books in the fields of literature, theology, history and the natural sciences. In addition to its general collection of rare books and manuscripts, the library houses the Yale Collection of American Literature, the Yale Collection of German Literature, the Yale Collection of Western Americana, and the Osborn Collection.

Yale Arts Library Receives Hand Bookbinding Collection

Yale University’s Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library has received a significant and generous gift of hand bookbindings from Sarah Valentine Nerber, daughter of bookbinder Mary Ellet Kendall Valentine and James A. Valentine. Ms. Nerber donated the collection in honor of her father, a member of the Yale Class of 1902.

Mary Ellet Kendall Valentine and her sister, Sarah Ellet Kendall, traveled to England in the early years of the twentieth century to study bookbinding with T. J. Cobden-Sanderson, proprietor of the Doves Press and Doves Bindery. Cobden-Sanderson founded the Doves Bindery in 1893 and it produced over one thousand bindings before closing in 1922. The bindings were mainly designed by Cobden-Sanderson and executed by professional binders. An early supporter of women’s rights, Cobden-Sanderson took a young American woman as his first pupil in 1895 at a time when it was unusual to find a woman working in the bookbinding trade. His political sympathies led him to train a series of female students and his only requirement was that they dedicate a year to learning the art and skill of bookbinding. The Kendall sisters trained with Cobden-Sanderson from 1907 to 1909 and on returning to America they opened the Golden Bindery in the Fine Arts Building in Chicago. Sadly, Sarah Kendall died a few years later. Her sister Mary Ellet Kendall married James A. Valentine in 1910 and continued to produce bindings into the 1920s.

The Valentine Collection consists of full leather bindings with gold stamped decorations that showcase both the technical and design skills of Mary Valentine and Sarah Kendall. The intricate patterns are influenced by their Arts and Crafts training, yet also show a tendency toward Art Deco and other modern influences. The collection includes bindings executed jointly by the sisters, as well as solo work by Mary Valentine. Many of the bound books were gifts to the sisters from Cobden-Sanderson and are inscribed. The 23 bindings in the collection are in exquisite condition and are the best examples of fine binding by a single artist in the Arts of the Book Collection, part of the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library Special Collections.

For more information on the Valentine Collection or the Haas Family Arts Library Special Collections, contact Jae Rossman or visit www.library.yale.edu/arts/specialcollections/

April 15, 2010

Coeducation at Yale

An exhibition marking the 40th anniversary of coeducation at Yale is on display in Sterling Memorial Library's Memorabilia Room (128 Wall Street). Drawn from the collections in Manuscripts and Archives, it explores the timeline leading up to coeducation, the first day on campus for female undergraduates, residential and social life, women's athletics, and the impact of coeducation four decades later.

The exhibition has been organized in conjunction with the WGSS & LGBTS Anniversaries Conference.

April 29: Elusive Records and Hidden Histories

"Elusive Records and Hidden Histories: Compiling the Gay and Lesbian Archives of South Africa"

Graeme Reid
Lecturer in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies,
Anthropology, and Sociology, Yale University
Thursday, April 29, 4:00 p.m.
Sterling Memorial Library Lecture Hall, 128 Wall Street
Free and open to the public.

Graeme Reid, founder of the Gay and Lesbian Archives of South Africa, reflects on his experience compiling the archive at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. In doing so he crosses paths with activists, hairstylists, charismatic preachers, military personnel, healers, and police officers; and the University of the Witwatersrand Library expands its holdings to include scrapbooks, diaries, erotica, photograph albums, and a sampling of fabulous outfits from the Mother City Queer Project.

Reid received his Ph.D. at the University of Amsterdam and worked as a sexuality researcher at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) in Johannesburg. He is the co-author of Waiting to Happen: HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa and the co-editor of three books, Refiguring the Archive; Sex and Politics in South Africa; and Men Behaving Differently. He co-directed a documentary on South African gay hairstylists working in small towns entitled Dark and Lovely, Soft and Free. His book, Above the Skyline: Reverend Tsietsi Thandekiso and the Founding of an African Gay Church, is currently in press.

This lecture is part of a series of campus-wide events marking Yale Pride.